Kansas

New Kansas Driver's License Causing Headaches For Some

Aug 10, 2017
Kansas Department of Revenue

The new Kansas driver’s license is causing frustration for some.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the “Real ID” is meant to comply with federal identification requirements for airport security purposes and will contain either a gold circle with a white star cutout proving the holder is lawfully in the U.S. and that it is acceptable federal identification, or the words “not for federal ID.”

El Dean Holthus knows what people might think of a town like Smith Center, Kansas.

At nearly the exact geographic center of the contiguous United States, it's an hour from the nearest Interstate. It's home to about 1,600 people, but that population is declining like most of rural America's.

They probably think, he says, that "it's just a little hole in the ground."

Kevin Rofidal

Former Kansas Senator and national Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole has been nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Lynn Jenkins jointly introduced resolutions to honor Dole on Monday, two days after his 94th birthday.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

What do High Plains folks hate the most?

There’s a new app called Hater that works like Tinder, except it matches users based on common things they loathe.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, according to the app’s users, the most common thing Texans hate is . . . “sleeping with the window open.”

This may come as a surprise, as there are so many things to hate in Texas, like rattlesnakes and poorly constructed tacos.

Starting Saturday, the fine for not wearing a seat belt in Kansas will triple.

Kansas’ current seat belt fine -- $10 -- is one of the lowest in the country. State legislators passed a law this session raising the fine to $30.

Public Domain

Determined residents and local officials have helped turn the tide on a declining population in a northwest Kansas community.

As High Plains Journal reports, the U.S. Census of 2010 reflected that Quinter, Kansas had experienced a 4.5 percent population decline and that Gove County’s population declined 12.2 percent since 2000.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says she’s considering a run for either Kansas governor or for the 4th District congressional seat in the Wichita area.

Divorce rate in Kansas reaches all-time low

Jun 27, 2017
Pixabay

Kansas’s divorce rate has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years, when the state began keeping annual records.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the divorce rate last year dropped to 2.6 per 1,000 persons and there were just under 7,200 divorces, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 

Those numbers have never been that low.

JIM MCLEAN / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Jim Barnett is throwing his stethoscope into the ring.

Again.

The 63-year-old doctor and former state senator is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Again.

Barnett, who represented an Emporia-centered district in the Kansas Senate for a decade, won the 2006 GOP primary over a relatively weak field but lost in a landslide to incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in the general election.

Four years later he came up short in a race against Tim Huelskamp for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

MEG WINGERTER / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Editor’s note: Kansas privatized its foster care system in 1997 after a lawsuit revealed widespread problems. Twenty years later, the number of Kansas children in foster care has shot up — topping 7,100 in April — and lawmakers approved the creation of a task force to examine the system. The Kansas News Service investigated problems in the foster care system and possible solutions. This is the fifth story in a series.

By Meg Wingerter

The head of the Kansas agency that oversees the state’s hospital system is working to jump-start the process of recertifying Osawatomie State Hospital.

Federal officials decertified the state’s largest psychiatric hospital in December 2015 due to concerns about patient safety and staffing.

The decertification order is costing the hospital approximately $1 million a month in federal funding.

During a Friday visit to Junction City that included a stop at a food pantry site, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall said he would work to maintain funding for programs that feed the hungry.

Marshall represents Kansas’ 1st District, which includes two counties — Geary and Riley — with the state’s highest rates of food insecurity. Residents of those counties also are more likely than most people across the country to lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.

Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle

After record-breaking wildfires late last month, Kansas saw another record broken on Saturday.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, southwest Kansas shattered the rainfall record for April first, according to the National Weather Service.

The original record of 1.2 inches had already been broken by six a.m., and the rain kept on coming. By day’s end, Dodge City reported receiving over double the original record, with a total of almost two-and-a-half inches.

Kansas ranked fifth for most outbound movers in 2016

Jan 5, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Kansas moved up a spot from last year in a ranking of the states most moved out of in 2016.

KHI News Service File

While staff vacancies at two state-run psychiatric hospitals in Kansas are down, state officials say there is still room for improvement.

Marvel Entertainment / Hays Daily News

Kansas now has its own Marvel superhero, reports The Hays Daily News.

Kansas City Star

Earlier this month, racist messages were written on the sidewalks of a college in a small Kansas town, reports The Kansas City Star.

Creative Commons

Exactly how flat is Kansas?

As Atlas Obscura reports, Kansas geographer Jerry Dobson has been dogged his whole career by that very question. Finally, a few years ago, he and fellow Kansas geographer Joshua Campbell undertook to measure the flatness of every state in the union.

The Wichita Eagle

For many, Kansas brings to mind the image of flickering wheat fields. But the state has had more than its share of celebrities and luminaries.

The Wichita Eagle has published a list of 19 famous people—and 2 animals—that spent time in Kansas. Military leaders on the list include Colin Powell, who was once deputy commander at Fort Leavenworth, and George Patton, who was stationed at Fort Riley before World War I.

Ted S. Warren / AP photo

Nationwide, more Americans are dying in car crashes recently. But that’s not the case in Kansas, reports The Kansas City Star.

From 2014 to 2015, the U.S. saw an increase in traffic fatalities of just over seven percent, the largest year-over-year increase since 1966. But the numbers in the Sunflower State declined at almost the same rate. Kansas highway fatalities fell 7.8 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The Gazette

Colorado and Kansas are two of the most welcoming states toward refugees, according to a new study.

Researchers from the International Rescue Committee combed through tweets from all 50 states looking for positive and negative language regarding refugees. Colorado ranks eighth for having the most positive tweets regarding newcomers fleeing terror and hardship, reports The Gazette. Kansas performed even better, landing at fourth on the list.

Getty Images

Trivia wiz and 74-time Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings recently reported on strange phenomena on a Kansas farm for Condé Nast Traveler. The 360-acre farm of Joyce Taylor, just north of Potwin, is a quiet place off the beaten path. But a few years ago Taylor, 82, began receiving strange phone calls and visitors.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

The annual wheat harvest has begun in Kansas. Kansas Agland captured farmers Brett Mott and Russell Molz cutting wheat and delivering it to the grain elevator. Photos by The Hutchinson News's Andrew Whitaker.

Tanner Colvin / AP photo

Roughly fifty tornados were sighted in Kansas last week, according to The Wichita Eagle. The most powerful was an EF-4 that grew to a half-mile wide. The twister was on the ground for 90 minutes and its roar could be heard two miles away. This sort of activity is par for the course in Tornado Alley. Bryan Baerg, a meteorologist with the Topeka branch of the National Weather Service, explained: “It’s late May, so it comes with the territory.”

Calvin Mattheis / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

It is evident from the sweeping acres of sorghum, wheat and pastures of cattle, the irrigated circles that can be seen from the sky, and from the scenic overlook at Dodge City where thousands of cattle are fattening:

Kansas’ backbone is agriculture.

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

In an attempt to understand how well Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s grand experiment of slashing taxes to stimulate economic growth has affected unemployment, The Pittsburgh Gazette recently compared the state’s stats with those of Nebraska.

Source: WalletHub  

American state capitals aren’t always the most exciting places in the nation. Often, these cities serve as seats of government, and not much more. Think Carson City, NV, or Charleston, WV. But the economic website Wallethub has found that many state capitals are, in fact, thriving—and they’re great places to live. The site has now ranked the best and worst state capitals to live in, and High Plains states did fairly well in the rankings.

In fact, Austin, Texas, is listed as the most livable state capital in the country, and Lincoln, Nebraska, came in second. Colorado cracked the top 15, with Denver coming in at number 13. Topeka had a decent showing, landing at number 20, just ahead of Oklahoma City at number 21.

Andy Marso / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

More than half of Kansans who found jobs after losing assistance remain in poverty.

Gov. Sam Brownback made his case Thursday for why Kansas food stamp reforms should be a national welfare-to-work model, even though the study he used to support his claim showed almost 80 percent of Kansans affected remained in poverty.

A Popular Kansas Guidebook Receives an Update

Dec 31, 2015
Kansas Sampler Foundation

A popular ten-year-old explorer’s guide to the state of Kansas is receiving an update, reports the Garden City Telegram. WenDee LaPlant and Marci Penner have been working on the book Kansas Guidebook for Explorers 2 for almost four years.

A Kansas Legend Comes Home

Nov 16, 2015
Travis Heying / The Wichita Eagle

Legendary Kansas Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker has returned home for good, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Kassebaum was the second woman to be elected senator in her own right, not preceded by a husband or appointed to fulfill an unexpired term. She served proudly in the US Senate from 1978 to 1997. Through the entirety of her re-election campaigns, she won more than 70 percent of the vote.

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