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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Martin Hawver: At the Rail: Christmas Dreams

Martin Hawver




Okay, so what if the Legislature next session decides to boost spending for public K-12 schools, as it presumes the Kansas Supreme Court wants it to do by about April 1?
Well, if the Legislature—or especially the House where all of its members stand for re-election in 2018 or maybe some just decide not to run for another two-year excursion into state government—decides to just write the check without raising anyone’s taxes, it means about a 17 percent cut in spending for everything else government does.
Sounds simple. Cut 17 percent from everything, and give that 17 percent to schools, and the court will probably be satisfied, and all this litigation over what is adequate school funding is over…for a while.
The long division shows that if a rumored $600 million in additional funding for schools will settle the lawsuit, it’s about a 17 percent cut on all state general fund spending.
Well, of course, there’s no decision yet on just how much the state needs to spend on K-12, and how quickly, but at least a couple state agencies during hearings last week dutifully presented information about what a 17 percent budget cut would mean to their agencies. Posed, of course, in the most frightful manner designed to get lawmakers to think about not doing that sweep of cash.
That’s the key. Making that 17 percent cut in funding so shocking, so dangerous, so perilous, that lawmakers quit considering budget cuts.
So, what spooked members of the latest committee to hear about the need for K-12 money?
Start with the Department of Corrections. Now, there are probably lots of ways to cut spending, buck or two here, a buck or two there, but the Kansas Department of Corrections said to cut its budget 17 percent it would close three prisons.
Oh, and let about 2,500 felons loose. Just open the gates and watch them wander off to the nearest liquor store or maybe a car that they could jump-start. Corrections didn’t say whether it would let loose check forgers, bank robbers or tax evaders, just 2,500 folks who probably need to be in prison, or at least in someone else’s neighborhood.
Wonder how the Kansas Judicial Department will respond to a 17 percent budget cut?
Well, one solution, apparently the ickiest one that the Judiciary could come up with, is closing the courthouses for 70 days a year. That might make getting warrants a little slow or might mean that Kansans can only get divorces on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and thousands of other inconveniences.
Other state offices would either close, lay off staff, quit some programs that they provide, and well, nothing very good happens.
What’s the object of having state departments illustrate what would happen if suddenly $600 million was removed from virtually every program except K-12 funding?
Well, it immediately means that lawmakers will have to give some serious thought to boosting state aid to schools. From somewhere…
That overturns the basic, budget touch-up and pass a few bills that Kansans will like into a major fight between those who agree with the court that the state isn’t spending enough on schools and those who think the court might give the Legislature a year or two to come up with the money, and figuring out how to make that more gradual increase in funding guaranteed. Flat guaranteed, not one of those deals in which the last year of promised and written into law increases are backed out of in a year or two.
Or, we guess, lawmakers could establish a new committee to choose the 2,500 felons who get released, maybe based on where they would move to if they are set free…
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Monday, December 25, 2017

FHSU Student Recognition Programs for 2018 begin in Denver on January 21


Press Release



HAYS, Kan. – High school students in Colorado will be first in line in 2018 to be recognized for scholarships to Fort Hays State University when the annual series of Student Recognition Programs kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Mountain time, Jan. 21, at the Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec St.

A highlight at each event is the recognition of students who have already been awarded scholarships to FHSU for the next academic year, but the SRP mission is to recognize all students interested in college – and their friends and families – and provide them with the opportunity to meet faculty and staff from the university. The public is welcome to attend.

Students and families in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska can sign up now to attend programs in their areas.

High school juniors, seniors and transfer students in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado have been invited to Student Recognition Programs in their areas. The programs are held in communities across Kansas, in southern Nebraska, and in Denver to accommodate area students and their parents or guardians and families.

Students are welcome to attend any SRP program but must RSVP by calling 785-628-5673 or by signing up online through the RSVP link at www.fhsu.edu/admissions/srp/.

Receptions hosted in each locale by the Office of Admissions include dessert or pizza buffets. Students and their friends and families have the opportunity to mingle with FHSU faculty, staff and administrators before and after the scholarship presentations.

Many high school seniors and transfer students will receive certificates for a variety of scholarships awarded to them by FHSU.

Scholarships to be awarded at the SRPs include the $3,500 Presidential Award of Distinction, the $2,000 University Scholar Award, the $1,500 Hays City Scholar Award, and the $1,000 Traditions Scholar Award. All are awarded only to incoming freshmen enrolling in college for the first time, but each is renewable provided students maintain the minimum required academic standing.

A renewable $1,500 scholarship is available for transfer students, and a $1,000 non-renewable transfer scholarship is also available.

Other one-time awards recognized at the SRPs are the $900 or $500 Academic Opportunity Awards, given to scholars by individual academic departments.

Each SRP event also features three scholarship drawings – a $400 FHSU Student Recognition Program Scholarship, a $600 textbook scholarship and another for a laptop computer. Four $400 SRP scholarships are awarded at the reception in Hays.

The SRP schedule includes the general area that is the core area served at each program site.

Denver, 2 p.m. Mountain time Sunday, Jan. 21, at the Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec St. Dessert will be served. The Denver SRP serves students from all Colorado counties except for Bent, Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Kit Carson and Prowers counties, which are served by SRP programs in Colby and Garden City.

Wichita, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Marriott, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Dessert will be served. The Wichita SRP serves students from 19 south-central and southeast Kansas counties: Barber, Butler, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Reno, Sedgwick, Sumner, Wilson, and Woodson.

Salina, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Webster Conference Center, 2601 N. Ohio. Pizza will be served. Students from eight counties are invited to Salina: Chase, Clay, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Marion, McPherson, Ottawa and Saline.

Great Bend, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, at Great Bend High School, 19th and Morton. Pizza will be served. Students invited to the Great Bend SRP are from Barton, Pawnee, Pratt, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties and from the cities of Bison and Otis in Rush County.

Colby, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at Colby High School, 1890 S. Franklin. Pizza will be served. Students from nine Kansas counties, two Colorado counties and four Nebraska counties are invited to the Colby SRP: Cheyenne, Decatur, Gove, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas and Wallace in Kansas; Cheyenne and Kit Carson in Colorado; and Chase, Dundy, Hayes, and Hitchcock counties in Nebraska.

Overland Park, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Doubletree Hotel, 10100 College Blvd. Dessert will be served. The Overland Park SRP serves students from 12 eastern Kansas counties: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, and Wyandotte.

Topeka, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Ramada Inn, 420 SE Sixth St. Dessert will be served. Topeka serves students from 14 counties: Brown, Coffey, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Lyon, Marshall, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, and Wabaunsee.

Beloit, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at Beloit High School, 1711 Walnut. Pizza will be served. The Beloit SRP is for students from the Kansas counties of Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington and from the cities of Osborne and Downs in Osborne County. Students from the Nebraska counties of Clay, Jefferson, Nuckolls, and Thayer are also invited.

Kearney, Neb., 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave. Pizza will be served. Students from 14 Nebraska counties are invited to the Kearney SRP: Adams, Buffalo, Dawson, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Hall, Harlan, Kearney, Lincoln, Phelps, Red Willow, and Webster.

Hays, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in the Fort Hays Ballroom of FHSU's Memorial Union, 700 College Drive. Dessert will be served. The Hays SRP serves students from seven counties: Ellis, Graham, Norton, Phillips, Rooks, Smith and Trego counties and from the cities of La Crosse in Rush County, Natoma in Osborne County, and Ransom in Ness County.

Garden City, 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at Garden City High School, 2720 Buffalo Way. Dessert will be served. Garden City serves students from 13 southwest Kansas counties and four southeast Colorado counties: Finney, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Morton, Scott, Seward, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita in Kansas; and Baca, Bent, Kiowa and Prowers counties in Colorado.

Dodge City, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at Dodge City High School, 2201 W. Ross Road. Pizza will be served. The Dodge City SRP serves eight counties – Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Kiowa and Meade – and Ness City in Ness County.



Area Happenings - Week of December 24

Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  December 23, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.


December 29, 2017
COME AND ENJOY OUR
COMMUNITY DINNER  & FELLOWSHIP
          TO BE HELD  AT 6:00  to?


HOST
VINLAND UNITED CHURCH
1724 N 692 RD
BALDWIN CITY, KS 6600


January 2, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

 January 5, 2018
Social Media Marketing
FREE to Chamber Members, 
or $25 for non-members! 
8:30 A.M. - 11 A.M.
8 A.M. Coffee and Networking

 January 9, 2018

Community Grants Workshop
FREE
Free presentation on Community Grants.
12 P.M. - 1 P.M.
at the Dance Cafe



January 16, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.




February 3, 2018
KSHSAA Regional Piano Festival

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS


February 6, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.


February 8, 2018
Annual Honor Band Festival

Honor Band Concert
7:00 p.m.

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS


February 20, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



February 22, 2018

2018 Annual Awards Banquet


March 1, 2 and 3, 2018
The Trojan Women
7:30 P.M.
March 4
2:00 P.M.

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

March 6, 2018
Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



March 8, 2018
Symphonic Winds & Jazz Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

March 20, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

April 19, 20 and 21, 2018
The Christians
7:30 P.M.
April 22
2:00 P.M.

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

April 27, 2018
Spring Choral Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 3, 2018 
Chris Grubb Jazz Ensemble Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 8, 2018
Spring Orchestra Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

May 9, 2018
Chris Grubb Jazz Guest Concert

Location:
Baker University
Rice Auditorium

Baldwin City, KS
7:30 P.M.

Third Friday Art Walk and Farmers Market

Downtown Baldwin City





Every 4th Thursday of the Month
10 A.M. - 11 A.M.
Mobile Food Bank
Baldwin City New Life Assembly of God
118 5th St  Baldwin City, KS
Stay in car, line up and drive through



Every Tuesday through October  
Eudora Local Gardening Farmer’s Market
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm Tuesdays
through October 2016
1402 Church Street
Eudora, KS.
In the parking lot of Gene’s Hartland Foods.
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Wednesday through October
De Soto Farmer’s Market (Fresh Promise’s Market)
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Wednesdays through October 2016
at The Barn at Kill Creek Farm
9200 Kill Creek Road
De Soto, KS
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Thursday through October 
Cottin's Hardware Farmer's Market on Thursdays from
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
through September
at Cottin's Hardware & Rental back parking lot
1832 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS
Local vendors offer a variety of goods including produce, baked items, hot foods, meats, eggs, soaps, jams, jellies, herbs, fudge and much more!;


Every Friday through October
Perry Lecompton Farmers' Market
Fridays from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
at Bernie's parking lot
24 Hwy and Ferguson Road
Perry, KS
Visit the market to find fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, honey, fresh cut flowers, farm fresh eggs, handmade crafts and more!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

JD Woods, Nate McLaurin Selected AP All-Americans

Press Release by Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications  Baker University


 
BALDWIN CITY, Kansas – After stellar 2017 seasons, freshman running back JD Woods and senior defensive back Nate McLaurin have been selected 2017 Associated Press (AP) Second Team NAIA All-Americans.

The selection committee is comprised of a group of media members and Sports Information Directors from across the country.

Woods was named the 2017 Heart of America Athletic Conference Southern Division Player of the Year in just his first season with the Wildcats.

He finished the year third in the NAIA in total scoring with 162 points and broke the Baker single-season record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 25.

He also broke BU’s single-game rushing record with 313 yards against Central Methodist on October 28 on 28 carries and he had four rushing TD’s.

The Lawrence, Kansas product finished the year with 1,618 yards rushing and averaged 6.9 yards per carrying.

McLaurin was not only one of the top defensive backs in the country but one of the top punt returners in the NAIA in 2017.

He finished the season with 265 total punt return yards, which ranked No. 2 in the NAIA. He also had a team-high five interceptions to lead the ‘Cats this season and finished with 49 tackles, ranking fifth on the squad.

The Phoenix, Arizona native also had 21 passes defended and was impressive off the edge with four blocked kicks in 2017.

The Wildcats wrap up the 2017 season ranked No. 9 in the NAIA and is coming off of its third-straight Heart of America Athletic Conference Southern Division championship and has appeared in five of the past six NAIA-FCS Playoffs.

The entire list of 2017 AP NAIA All-Americans  is below:


Quarterback – Tanner Trosin, senior, Southern Oregon.
Running backs – Bubba Jenkins, senior, Morningside; Justin Green, junior, St. Francis, Indiana.
Linemen – Trae Bradburn, senior, Morningside; Justin Hunter, senior, Saint Xavier; Trey Coney, sophomore, Reinhardt; Chris Emter, senior, Carroll College; Xavier Carter, senior, Reinhardt;
Tight end – Trenton Poe-Evans, sophomore, Kansas Wesleyan.
Receivers – Hayden Adams, senior, Dakota Wesleyan; Connor Niles, junior, Morningside.
All-purpose player – Charles Ducksworth, senior, Point.
Kicker – Daniel Martinez, senior, Wayland Baptist.
DEFENSE
Linemen – Jamarae Finnie, senior, Langston; Evan Sprayberry, junior, Tabor; Tevin McCoy, junior, Reinhardt; Resean Coleman, sophomore, William Penn.
Linebackers – Caden McDonald, senior, Morningside; Piercen Harnish, junior, St. Francis, Indiana; Thomas Sease, senior, Dickinson State.
Backs – Darius Price, senior, Siena Heights; Tomunci Whitfield, senior, Southwestern, Kansas; Tarence Roby, senior, Concordia, Nebraska; Nate Moore, senior, College of Idaho.
Punter – Derek Brush, senior, Arizona Christian.
SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE
Quarterback – Dillon Turner, senior, Dakota Wesleyan.
Running backs – JD Woods, freshman, Baker; Jacob Kalogonis, sophomore, Northwestern, Iowa.
Linemen – Avery Lock, senior, Valley City State; Spencer Baalman, senior, Tabor; Garrett Bader, senior, Benedictine; Zac Lawson, senior, Lindsey Wilson; Darrion McAlister, senior, Marian.
Tight end – J.C. Koerselman, senior, Northwestern, Iowa.
Receivers – Lexus Jackson, senior, St. Francis, Illinois; LaQuvionte Gonzalez, senior, Southeastern, Florida.
All-purpose player – Tahj Willingham, senior, Hastings College.
Kicker – Mario Esparaza, senior Southwester, Kansas.
DEFENSE
Linemen – Chris Overton, senior, St. Ambrose; Sean Rogers, junior, Southern Oregon; Josh Evans, senior, Evangel; Jason Lupkes, senior, Morningside.
Linebackers – Michael Arenas, senior, Eastern Oregon; Trent Mueller, junior, Lindsey Wilson; Garrett Updegraft, senior, Kansas Wesleyan.
Backs – Nate McLaurin, junior, Baker; Jay Liggins, junior, Dickinson State; Cole Wiseman, senior, Doane; Tionte McDaniel, sophomore, St. Xavier.
Punter – Drake Higgins, sophomore, Missouri Valley.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Baldwin City Council Talks Fees

Kevin Surbaugh


The Baldwin City Council their last meeting of the year on December 19, 2017. In the absence of Mayor Marilyn Pearse, Council-Member and President Kathy Gerstner presided in the mayor's seat. After quick approval of the agenda and consent agenda, the council moved to public comments. Hank Booth, approached the podium at this time, thanking Council-Members Gerstner and Christi Darnell, for their service on the council. The two council members did not run for re-election and will be retiring from council politics after this meeting.  Although they will be present at the first meeting of January to open that meeting and swear in the mayor and two new council members.
After which, Jeanette Blackmar made a special presentation regarding "First Impressions," a program that looks at the community through the eyes of a first time visitor to the community. Blackmar told the council, that there will be a number of public meetings on this issue throughout the year. The first of which will be January 10, 2018, in which the public will be able to hear a report of what some visitors from Iola seen and what their reactions were. After that, another presentation will be presented on Februrary14 during the chamber luncheon. Other meetings will include a plan of action in March with a follow-up in June.
Council-Member Kathy Gerstner set
in the mayor's chair for her last official meeting
on the Baldwin City Council.
During old business, the council again took up charter ordinance 27, which will replace charter ordinance one. The ordinance changes dates of mayoral appointments from the former spring election cycle to the new fall/winter schedule. Motion carried 4-1 with Council-Member A. J. Stevens casting the single dissenting vote.   Council then voted on a related ordinance 1380 amending section 1-301 which basically does the same thing and passed on the same 4-1 roll call vote.
Council members also discussed a proposal from the previous meeting that was suggested by former council-member Ken Hayes. The proposal is to temporarily lower some of the fees to connect new construction. Tony Brown said the utility committee is looking at the cities costs and expect to be able to be able to report on that come January.
The discussion then turned into an overall fee schedule. Currently the fees, according to City Administrator Glenn Rodden, are scattered throughout a number of ordinances. Rodden suggested, that the council list all of the ordinances in one ordinance that can be reviewed and adjusted as needed each year.
In other business the council:
  • Approved an agreement with Lawrence/Douglas County for the Baldwin City Fire Department to provide emergency medical services (EMS) in the Baldwin City area at $15/person. 
  • Wished City Attorney Matt Hoy well, as this was his last meeting. 
  •  Learned the first meeting of January will be the second Monday (January 8, 2018) instead of the first Tuesday and the new council will be sworn in. 


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Frontier Farm Credit to Distribute $11.5 Million Cash-Back Dividend for 2017

Press Release

OMAHA, NEBRASKA Frontier Farm Credit, a financial cooperative owned by farmers and ranchers, approved a 2017 cash-back dividend of $11.5 million for its eligible customer-owners.

Frontier Farm Credit has returned more than $80.7 million to producers in eastern Kansas since 2004.

“Cash-back dividends demonstrate the value of our unique cooperative business model,” said Mark Jensen, president, and CEO of Frontier Farm Credit. “As agriculture works through a tough economic cycle, our customer-owners are sharing in the cooperative’s success, and can invest the dividends in their operations and local communities.”

The Board of Directors considers a number of business and economic factors in determining the amount of each year’s cash-back dividends, including the cooperative’s financial strength. The earnings retained by Frontier Farm Credit are used to build the cooperative’s financial capacity to continue serving agriculture.

The 2017 dividend checks will be mailed to eligible customer-owners in March 2018. The Board of Directors has approved a cash-back dividend for 2018, with the amount of the distribution to be decided in December 2018.

Martin Hawver: At the Rail: Safety Net or Not Politicians Seek Higher Office

Martin Hawver


What if you could run for a statewide or federal office without having to worry about whether you’ll keep your underground Statehouse parking garage slot?
Now, there are probably good reasons for those four to try for bigger offices, but those four—so far—can campaign for another job at no risk to their current posts.
Martin Hawver
The four are, of course, state senators who are in the middle of four-year terms which means they won election in 2016 to terms which don’t expire until 2020.
How’s that for a belt and suspenders?
The four, so far, are State Sens. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth, and Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, who are running for Second District Congress to take the place of retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan.
Oh, and of course Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, who is running for governor, and Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, who is running for Secretary of State.
Win and they have new jobs; lose, they retain their Senate jobs for another two years.
Oh, but don’t forget that a handful of Kansas House members are running for higher office without that mid-term safety net, seeing that House members only have two-year terms. They win, or they have to return to buying their own lunches and drinks because lobbyists quickly lose interest in Kansans who can’t vote on bills they and their clients want passed.
Who is making the big bet—because re-election to the House is probably more likely than having to make friends with a much larger group of Kansans?
Well, start with House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, who is after the Democratic nomination for governor and who last year was re-elected to an eighth House term with 58.5% of his district’s votes—just 3,336 to land him his House seat.
Another risk-it-all candidate? Three-term Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, who is risking it all with his U.S. 2nd District House candidacy.
Oh, and down-ballot there are two candidates for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State who are betting it all. They are seven (non-consecutive) term House Speaker pro tem Scott Schwab, of Olathe, and three-term Rep. Keith Esau, a Republican also of Olathe, who are giving up the seats that each has recently won with high-50 percent margins, for the bigger job—or more time to spend on yardwork.
Practically, everyone would like to move up to higher office, where they can have a bigger effect on Kansans’ lives, whether it is making voting faster, managing the state, or in Congress drawing a little of that federal budget to Kansas, or maybe just preventing Congress from ignoring programs that are important to us.
Put aside for a moment every candidate’s promise to make life in Kansas better, or save the water table or provide better schools, roads, care for the poor and such, which each candidate has his/her own idea of just how to do that. You might just want to consider that some candidates are risking a lot more—likely their political futures—to accomplish that.
The non-legislators who are in the races? Well, we’ll presume they are making a living now and probably are serving their communities in some way.
And, even those job-safe senators who either get bigger jobs or keep their present jobs probably have a little-thought-about effect of pulling into the campaigns for the offices they are seeking some hard-won experience that will color those campaigns.
We’ve all heard campaign promises that we know just aren’t do-able and while they look nice on a palm card or at a public forum really aren’t going to happen. Sometimes it’s the experience that some candidates bring to the campaign that brings some practical realism to the elections.
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Kansas Expert Clears up Confusion About Palliative Care

Press Release by Jennifer Amundson | Associate Director, Regional Media Advocacy American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.


LAWRENCE, Kan. – Janelle Williamson, APRN/NP-C, has seen first-hand how patients can react when they are offered palliative care. She is a nurse practitioner in pain and palliative care services at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

"The biggest barrier to patients receiving palliative care is not knowing what it is," explained Williamson, "I've developed a special way of introducing myself so patients won't immediately think they are dying. I wish more people knew: palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. Even providers need a reminder on that."

Palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness – whatever the stage of life. It is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Common diagnoses include cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney failure, liver failure or ALS (Lou Gehrig disease).

Williamson provided a list of the top four misconceptions she hears about palliative care, and the responses she gives to set patients and family members at ease.

Myth #1: Palliative care is for patients who are dying.
This is the number one barrier to patients receiving palliative care. People don't know what it is or think they are being offered hospice care. People who are offered palliative care are often expected to live for a long time with the symptoms of their disease. The more people understand the elements of the care, the more positively they respond. Even in high-tech treatments, people still want their care team to know what their personal goals are for their life and that's a huge part of palliative care.

Myth #2: Palliative care isn't covered by my insurance.
This is another common and unfounded fear in most cases, said Williamson. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care: "Most private insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care services in the hospital, in rehabilitation and skilled nursing or hospice facilities. Medicare and Medicaid don't use the word 'palliative' but the services are the same."

Myth #3: I have to give up medical treatment to get palliative care.
Palliative care is not hospice care, a valuable discipline in its own right. Currently, patients must be willing to give up curative treatments to receive Medicare coverage for hospice care, which provides support to patients who are expected to live less than six months. Palliative care is designed to work alongside curative treatment, to help a patient cope with a life-changing diagnosis.

Myth #4: I have had enough medical treatment already, and I don't need more appointments.
Palliative care helps to streamline patient care and reduce the emotional and physical burdens patients face. It reduces the likelihood a patient will need to be admitted to the hospital for emergency care and improves a patient's ability to focus on what matters most to them. While it's possible palliative care may not reduce the patient's number of appointments, it will certainly make their medical journey less overwhelming.

"Confusion about palliative care is one of the reasons I'm working with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and others to advance legislation on the topic," said Williamson. "We are working to educate lawmakers about a bill that would establish an advisory council on palliative care, to make recommendations about how our laws and policies can support this important care. I have the best job ever. I get to help people facing life-changing illness figure out how to keep their life goals at the center of their care. Public education and support for this work will help more Kansans access palliative care."
 




Monday, December 18, 2017

BeautiControl is Sold to Youngevity

Kevin Surbaugh via a PR Newswire press release

Orlando, FL - This past Friday Tupperware Brands Corporation (NYSE: TUP) along with Youngevity International, Inc (NASDAQ: YGYI) announced that Tupperware would sell the BeautiControl division to Youngevity.  What is BeautiControl?  Some in the community, may not
have heard of the brand, even though Tupperware is pretty much a household name.
BeautiControl is a 36-year old beauty company that specializes in Spa treatments,
Personalized skin care and Advanced Anti-aging products (SPA) through a unique at-home spa experience with an unmatched income opportunity.
As part of the deal, Youngevity will integrate Beauticontrol's sales force into its company, marketing Beauticontrol branded products, as well as the other brands in Youngevity's extensive product portfolio. Youngevity will also market Beauticontrol branded products to its existing member base. Tupperware will earn a royalty based on future sales of the Beauticontrol sales force, and sales of the Beauticontrol product line by the existing Youngevity members.
 Rick Goings, Chairman, and CEO of Tupperware Brands said,
"We couldn't be more pleased to reach this agreement with Youngevity. We feel Youngevity's 20-year history and impressive track record make them the ideal company to welcome Beauticontrol into its family of brands. The agreement will allow Beauticontrol's sales force to again be able to purchase many of the products that they and their customers love.  As part of Youngevity, the Beauticontrol product line will have an even wider audience through its existing members and by joining Youngevity, the Beauticontrol sales force members will be able to enjoy a terrific direct selling earning opportunity. While likely to be modest in any particular year, monetizing these Beauticontrol assets is a win for Tupperware Brand's shareholders."
Steve Wallach, CEO, and Chairman of Youngevity added,
"We're thrilled and proud to enter into an agreement with Tupperware who has built an iconic and impressive global brand and company.  We look forward to welcoming the sales force of Beauticontrol and expanding the innovative product development that Beauticontrol has become known for over the last 27 years."


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kock Selected to AFCA-NAIA First Team All-America

Press Release: Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications  Baker University

BALDWIN CITY, KANSAS – Baker University senior defensive lineman Josh Kock became a two-time AFCA-NAIA All-American on Monday, as he was selected to the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA First Team All-America.

The Concordia, Missouri native was fourth on the team in tackles this season with 59 and led the team in tackles for loss with 15 and added seven more sacks to his illustrious career total.

He ends his impressive Baker career with 29 career sacks, just four behind the school record of 33 by former NAIA All-American Andre Jolly.

Kock also had a fumble recovery for a touchdown this season and ends his BU career with 55 tackles for loss, one interception and 243 total tackles.

He was named the Heart South Co-Defensive Player of the Year in three-straight seasons from 2015 to 2017. In 2016, he earned a spot on the AFCA-NAIA Second Team All-America as well.

Area Happenings - Week of December 17, 2017

Press Release

Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  December 16, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.


December 19, 2017

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

December 29, 2017

COME AND ENJOY OUR
COMMUNITY DINNER  & FELLOWSHIP
          TO BE HELD  AT 6:00  to?


HOST
VINLAND UNITED CHURCH
1724 N 692 RD
BALDWIN CITY, KS 6600


January 2, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

 January 5, 2018
Social Media Marketing
FREE to Chamber Members, 
or $25 for non-members! 
8:30 A.M. - 11 A.M.
8 A.M. Coffee and Networking

 January 9, 2018

Community Grants Workshop
FREE
Free presentation on Community Grants.
12 P.M. - 1 P.M.
at the Dance Cafe



January 16, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.





February 6, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



February 20, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



February 22, 2018

2018 Annual Awards Banquet



March 6, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.




March 20, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

Third Friday Art Walk and Farmers Market

Downtown Baldwin City





Every 4th Thursday of the Month
10 A.M. - 11 A.M.
Mobile Food Bank
Baldwin City New Life Assembly of God
118 5th St  Baldwin City, KS
Stay in car, line up and drive through



Every Tuesday through October  
Eudora Local Gardening Farmer’s Market
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm Tuesdays
through October 2016
1402 Church Street
Eudora, KS.
In the parking lot of Gene’s Hartland Foods.
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Wednesday through October
De Soto Farmer’s Market (Fresh Promise’s Market)
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Wednesdays through October 2016
at The Barn at Kill Creek Farm
9200 Kill Creek Road
De Soto, KS
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Thursday through October 
Cottin's Hardware Farmer's Market on Thursdays from
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
through September
at Cottin's Hardware & Rental back parking lot
1832 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS
Local vendors offer a variety of goods including produce, baked items, hot foods, meats, eggs, soaps, jams, jellies, herbs, fudge and much more!;


Every Friday through October
Perry Lecompton Farmers' Market
Fridays from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
at Bernie's parking lot
24 Hwy and Ferguson Road
Perry, KS
Visit the market to find fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, honey, fresh cut flowers, farm fresh eggs, handmade crafts and more!


City of Baldwin City Council Meeting Agenda

  Location:  Baldwin City Public Library
 800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 7:00 PM 


   A. Call to Order- President Kathy Gerstner
 B. Approval of the Agenda
 C. Consent Agenda
1. Minutes of the November 21st, 2017 and December 5th, 2017 Regular Council Meetings
2. Tobacco Licenses
a.Dollar General
3. CMB Licenses
a. KWIK Shop
b. Moose’s BBQ
 D. Public Comment:
Members of the public are welcome to comment on items relating to City business not listed on this Agenda. Please stand and wait to be recognized by the Mayor. As a general practice, the comments may or may not be acted upon by the Council during the meeting, or Council may refer the items to staff for follow up.
If you wish to comment on an item listed on the Agenda, a sign-up sheet is provided for you to sign in and provide your address. You will be called on when the Agenda item of interest is under discussion by the Council.
 E. Special Reports or Presentations
1.
First Impressions Program - Chamber of Commerce Director Jeannette Blackmar
 F. Old Business
1.
Charter Ordinance 27, repeal and replace Charter Ordinance 21
2.
Ordinance 1380, city code 1-301 amendment
 
G. New Business
1. Incentive program 2018
2. Fee Schedule
3. Building Permit Fee
4. 2017 Contract extension RWD 4
5. Cooperation Agreement - Emergency Services - Terry Baker, Fire Chief
 
  H. Committee and/or Commission Reports
1.Budget and Finance/Kathy Gerstner, David Simmons
2. Community Development Committee/A.J. Stevens, Tony Brown
3.Public Health and Safety Committee/David Simmons, Kathy Gerstner
4. Public Works Committee/Christi Darnell, A.J. Stevens
5.Utilities Committee/Tony Brown, Christi Darnell
 
   I. City Administrator and Staff comments
  J. Council & Mayor Comments
K. Executive Session
   L. Adjourn

Football Claims Five Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes

Press Releas: Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications  Baker University

BALDWIN CITY, Kansas – The Baker University football team garnered five 2017 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards announced on Friday.

The five Wildcats to earn the honor include Logan Brettell, Jacob Tompkins, Dalton Brinegar, Camden Wheatley and Zach Hipsher.

The five ‘Cats are amongst a group of 379 NAIA football players from across the country to be selected for the honor.

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hawver: Higher Kansas Income Taxes in 2018

by Martin Hawver


Hope you had a good time this year coming up with an additional $591 million in Kansas individual income tax, the income tax increase lawmakers approved over the veto of Gov. Sam Brownback back in June.
Martin Hawver

That income tax increase we’ll be mailing into the state on April 17—the deadline for the current tax year—was, remember, just a stutter-step, in which the full income tax increase was trimmed just a bit below the rates you’ll pay for the year starting Jan. 1.
That stutter-step? Well, the three brackets (up from the two brackets of the discarded Brownback tax plan of 2012) for marrieds-filing-jointly are:
  • With $30,000 or less in taxable income, 2.9% for this tax year and 3.10% for the tax year 2018.
  • With $30,000 to $60,000, 4.9% for the current tax year and 5.25% for tax year 2018.
  • With more than $60,000, 5.2% for this tax year and 5.7% for the tax year 2018 and after.
Yes, that second year, which starts just after you’ve downed the New Year’s Eve toast and officially stepped into 2018, sees rate increases that are predicted to boost this year’s $591 million in tax revenue to $633 million.
Now, the nice thing about New Year’s Eve parties is that nobody, except probably accountants, are doing much in the way of calculation. Just having a good time.
But that party where we celebrate the tax increases being over probably isn’t going to last, largely because the Kansas Supreme Court tossed out as unconstitutional this year’s new school finance bill, ruling that it doesn’t send enough money to public K-12 schools to guarantee schoolchildren from border to border access to a good education at roughly the same expenditure per pupil.
The court didn’t put a pricetag on just what it will cost to meet that adequate standard on school finance, but few wandering the Statehouse corridors are expecting a pricetag of less than $400 million to $600 million. The real issue appears to be whether the Legislature can boost that funding in just one year, or whether the court will approve a maybe two-year phase in of that additional money which the state doesn’t have…
Which, of course, opens that Pandora’s box of just where the money would come from, or, more politically accurately, from whom that money would come.
There are those among us whose scalps can reflect sunlight glare into others’ eyes who believe that those folks who pay for haircuts probably aren’t paying enough. Or those who wonder why farmers don’t pay sales tax on those giant air-conditioned tractors they buy. Or why tax accountants can’t figure how to collect sales tax on their work product.
Now, of course, the state could cut spending on nearly everything else to free up money for a boost to schools, but then what do you want to cut? Not many pretty choices there, are there…
But there are some new numbers for potential tax increases to boost revenues, and they become part of the discussion to raise more money.
Interested in a little more income tax? Raising the rates that will be in effect on Jan. 1 (3.10 percent, 5.25 percent, and 5.70 percent) by .75 percent (to 3.85 percent, 6 percent and 6.45 percent) would likely raise about $613 million.
That simple? Well, the mathematics are simple, but running for re-election after two years of income tax increases? Pretty tough.
Raising the sales tax? Well, you can do the math if a .1 percent increase—from 6.5 percent to 6.6 percent raises about $46 million—just pencil out how much you want…
Something to think about at that New Year’s Eve party…
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chain Migration: Burdensome and Obsolete

Newswire


Washington, D.C. - An analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies examines chain migration and the immigration background of the Port Authority bomber.  Akayed Ullah, a lawful permanent resident, is a citizen of Bangladesh who came to the United States in February 2011 on an immigrant visa in one of the chain migration categories. Ullah qualified to enter at age 20 as the nephew of a naturalized U.S. citizen. The relative who sponsored Ullah and his family reportedly entered originally under the visa lottery and became a U.S. citizen.
Highlights on immigration to the U.S. from Bangladesh:
  • Approximately 90 percent of the immigrants from Bangladesh in the last decade have received green cards through sponsorship by a relative who immigrated earlier;
  • The number of immigrant visas issued to Bangladeshis was about 6,000 in 2000, but today is about 12,000 in 2017, illustrating the multiplier effect of chain migration.
  • There are more than 175,000 citizens of Bangladesh on the immigrant visa waiting list, of whom just over 165,000 (94 percent) are waiting in the sibling/nephew/niece category; 
  • For many years citizens of Bangladesh were leading participants in the annual Visa Lottery.  In 2007, 36% of the immigrant visas issued in Bangladesh were under the lottery.  By 2012, Bangladesh was disqualified based on high annual numbers of green cards awarded. 
  • In 2017, 99% of the more than 12,000 immigrant visas awarded to Bangladeshis were family-based.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Area Happenings - Week of December 10

Here are the upcoming events that the Gazette has been made aware of as of  December 9, 2017.  To submit an item to the community events calendar, please email it to press@baldwingazette.com.

 December 10, 2017
Army Reserve Band
3 P.M.
Rice Auditorium


December 19, 2017

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.

December 29, 2017

COME AND ENJOY OUR
COMMUNITY DINNER  & FELLOWSHIP
          TO BE HELD  AT 6:00  to?


HOST
VINLAND UNITED CHURCH
1724 N 692 RD
BALDWIN CITY, KS 6600


January 2, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.



January 16, 2018

Baldwin City Council Meeting
Location: Baldwin City Library
800 7th Street
Baldwin City, KS
7 P.M.


Third Friday Art Walk and Farmers Market

Downtown Baldwin City





Every 4th Thursday of the Month
10 A.M. - 11 A.M.
Mobile Food Bank
Baldwin City New Life Assembly of God
118 5th St  Baldwin City, KS
Stay in car, line up and drive through



Every Tuesday through October  
Eudora Local Gardening Farmer’s Market
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm Tuesdays
through October 2016
1402 Church Street
Eudora, KS.
In the parking lot of Gene’s Hartland Foods.
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Wednesday through October
De Soto Farmer’s Market (Fresh Promise’s Market)
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Wednesdays through October 2016
at The Barn at Kill Creek Farm
9200 Kill Creek Road
De Soto, KS
Local, fresh produce and foods offered by local growers and producers!


Every Thursday through October 
Cottin's Hardware Farmer's Market on Thursdays from
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
through September
at Cottin's Hardware & Rental back parking lot
1832 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS
Local vendors offer a variety of goods including produce, baked items, hot foods, meats, eggs, soaps, jams, jellies, herbs, fudge and much more!;


Every Friday through October
Perry Lecompton Farmers' Market
Fridays from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
at Bernie's parking lot
24 Hwy and Ferguson Road
Perry, KS
Visit the market to find fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, honey, fresh cut flowers, farm fresh eggs, handmade crafts and more!


Baldwin Council Tables Mayoral Appointments

Kevin Surbaugh 


The regular December 5 (2107) meeting of the Baldwin City Council was called to order by Marilyn Pearse. After removing the previous meetings minutes from the consent agenda, because they failed to be included in the council packet, so the members of the council could not review them, the council, approved the consent agenda, which included tobacco license renewals for Baldwin City Market, Kwik Shop, and Payless Tobacco. The missing minutes will be added to the consent agenda of the next council meeting.

Baldwin City resident and former council-member, Ken Hayes, made a special presentation to the council requesting a 75% reduction in fees/building permits.  Currently, Baldwin City permits and fees are $4,185.  When it comes to connecting utilities the city does not charge for the labor, the city does incur labor costs. However, outside of labor would total at less than $2,000.

According to Hayes,
"We are currently down to eighteen lots to build on. At current rates the city has twenty months until these lots are exhausted."
Another presentation came from the Jeanette Blackmar, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce Director,  in regards to the success of the recent Festival of Lights. Blackmar reported to the Council that after five months of planning, they had three community partners, eleven participating organizations, fourteen floats. Steve Friend,  Baldwin City Recreation Commission, who will be retiring in June, was honored as the Grand Marshal of the parade. Blackmar continued, by telling the council that there was about 800 people that attended this years parade and 500 riders on Midland Railway's  Santa Clause Express. The event raised about $450 for the Baldwin City Recreation Commission and Community Emergency Fund.

The council then moved into old business, and began discussing Charter Ordinance 27, regarding mayoral appointments of a city treasurer, city attorney, municiple judge and such others other officers as may be deemed necessary for best interest of the city.
A discussion ensued about other positions that could be appointed per the state statute.  The city has exempted itself, Council-Member A. J. Stevens, said, from several of those positions.  He continued by saying,  that it appears that full-time positions are exempted while part-time positions are not. Mayor Pearse explained, that those positions are hired, like the city administrator and police chief were hired positions and not appointed.
Stevens made a motion to table any decision until the next meeting. With Council-Member David Simmons seconding the council approved on a vote of 3-2 to table further discussions. With Council-Members Kathy Gerstner and Tony Brown casting the dissenting votes. A related item the council also tabled any decision on ordinance 1380 to change the dates of approving such appointments, by new incoming mayors to the second meeting of January. The vote fell on the same 3-2 split.
In other business the council:
  • Unanimously approved the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
  • Unanimously approved an agreement with Douglas County for housing Baldwin City inmates.
  • Unanimously approved a contract with Eaton Corporation to update the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system at the power plant for $66,005.
  • Learned that City Attorney Matt Hoy will resign and his last meeting will be the final meeting of 2017. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Baker University to Add Two New Varsity Sports


Press Release: Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications Baker University


BALDWIN CITY, Kansas – The Baker University athletics department is excited to announce the creation of two new varsity sports starting in the fall of 2018.

Baker will increase its varsity sports to 22 with the addition of women's wrestling and men's bowling programs.

The men's and women's wrestling programs will be led by current head wrestling coach Cody Garcia and his staff, while the men's and women's bowling programs will be continually led by head coach Cheryl Keslar.

"The opportunity for Coach Garcia to start our women's wrestling program is something we are excited about," said Baker Director of Athletics, Nate Houser. "We know he will take his success that he has already garnered for us on and off the mat and mold that same success into both of our programs."

Garcia is currently in his third year as the head men's wrestling coach at Baker and has produced two NAIA National Champions in his tenure with the 'Cats.

Baker previously sported a men's bowling program from 1963 until 1982. 2018 will mark the first time a collegiate bowler has competed for the BU men's bowling program in 36 years.

"It's very exciting to restart men's bowling," said Houser. "To have Coach Keslar move into a full-time position and become a bigger part of our athletic department will be a benefit to everyone. We look forward to growing her continued passion and success."

The sport of women's wrestling is an emerging sport within the NAIA. It currently isn't recognized as a varsity NAIA sport, as men's wrestling currently stands.

The Baker women's wrestling program will compete against fellow NAIA programs as well as NCAA institutions under the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) umbrella.

"It is an honor to continue to lead the growth and impact of Baker Wrestling with the addition of the women's program," said Garcia. "As exciting as it is to see the surge of so many programs recently, I am even more encouraged and thankful to see it happening at a school that believes in the vision of the program, recognizes its value, and that understands the resources needed to develop champions. Our purpose, our brand, and the sport shouldn't be limited when the need is there for everyone to benefit from it." 

The wrestling team will compete inside the Collins Center on the Baldwin City campus and will practice in the wrestling room inside Mabee Hall.

"Women's wrestling at Baker University will serve as a tremendous opportunity for passionate student-athletes to chase their bold aspirations in an environment that cultivates and strengthens those expectations. This program will look to immediately align and match the prestige and standard of success associated with Baker University. We believe we can create an elite training center for high caliber wrestlers and prepare them for success on the mat as they first represent us in Baker orange in hopes of one-day donning the red, white, and blue. More importantly, though we can prepare them for their greater impact beyond the mats as they move on to the next phase in their lives."

The men's bowling team will compete alongside the women's program in its training facility at Royal Crest Lanes in Lawrence, Kansas.

Similar to women's bowling, men's bowling is an emerging NAIA sport and will compete in the same tournaments as the women's program. Keslar is in her seventh season leading the Wildcats.

"This is an exciting time for Baker Athletics!" said Keslar. "We have been waiting for this day and we couldn't be more thrilled to announce the creation of a men's bowling program!"


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

At the Rail - Good News or is it?

Martin Hawver

There are times that news is good…but so little good that it really isn’t worth even Tweeting your friends about.
And that’s what happened last week when the Kansas Department of Revenue announced that the state took in $458 million in tax revenue for the month of November—$8.3 million more than predicted. That’s about 1.85% more than revenue experts had envisioned; if you left a 1.85% tip at the coffee shop, you’d never get a refill, would you?
So, good news, but really not worth crowding out those cats wearing red holiday hats on your friends’ phones.
Yet, for state government, it’s a start, and that’s $8.3 million that the state didn’t expect to have.
The issue is that the November windfall and another $108 million in additional revenue predicted for this fiscal year by the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group of budget and economic experts still likely aren’t enough to constitutionally finance the state’s aid to public K-12 schools.
Remember, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the new school finance formula passed by lawmakers last spring didn’t meet constitutional requirements to make sure that there is “adequate” revenue to schools to provide each child across the state access to a good education.
The court didn’t say how much more money the state needs to spend on schools—just more.
Chances are slim that November’s $8.3 million atop the $108 million predicted boost in revenue to be received by June 30 when this fiscal year ends will be enough to satisfy the court.
So, good news, but not enough good fiscal news to allow the state to avoid another tax increase to adequately finance schools or to cut spending on something else and transfer the money to schools or to figure out some way to overturn or emasculate the Supreme Court’s decision that the school finance plan in place now is unconstitutional.
New taxes on things that are exempt from taxation now? That’s going to be a tough one for lawmakers—especially House members who stand for re-election next year. It means not only finding new things to tax—and fighting with lobbyists who represent those untaxed businesses—but doing it quickly so the money starts rolling in by early spring.
Raising existing taxes? Well, last year it was income taxes that were boosted, and the year before that it was raising sales taxes. That doesn’t sound like a starter, does it?
Of course, there are still seven months left in this fiscal year, and it might turn out that the state has underestimated just how much money the retroactive income tax increase will raise and whether those limited liability companies and self-employed workers will pony up more money than expected after a four-year break from paying state income taxes.
But month-by-month as the Legislature meets to craft a new school aid proposal and a budget for everything else the state does with your tax dollars, the time clock ticks on that Supreme Court decision.
Back when lawmakers thought they had the school finance issue settled for this year and next, they hoped the upcoming session would be short, low-cost and generally agreeable to Kansans who will vote for their reelection next November.
Doesn’t look like that anymore. Nope, it’s looking like the little revenue boost the state enjoyed last month isn’t near what is going to be required and lawmakers are going to have to raise more money from somewhere…which means you.
Unless…and you gotta hope…that state revenues are going to unexpectedly climb to dig out of the budget hole facing the state.
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com