State revenue projections are out that will be the basis for the state budget through June 2015. Not good news for you and me. See the details below.
I’m cooking Easter dinner for the family. Looking forward to having everyone here. Hope you have a blessed Easter as well.
GOVERNOR SIGNS BILLS
The Governor signed a number of bills recently. Many of the bills passed this year don’t impact a lot of Kansans, but they are important to the folks who asked for them. Here are a few of interest:
- A new law allows employers to reduce work hours to avoid layoffs while providing employees with partial unemployment benefits. This should give employers some flexibility during fluctuations in their business. This is voluntary and employers must apply with the Department of Labor.
- SB 309 changes the list of associations providing health insurance coverage exempted from the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner.
- SB 254 updates statutes regarding investments of insurance companies to allow certain types of equity investments. The bill expands the permissible investments that could be used as collateral in securing a loan.
- SB 310 amends statutes on Grand Juries. Looks like among other things it allows grand juries called by petition to ask the Attorney General to prosecute the case rather than the local DA.
- SB 308 expands the Kansas no-call list to include mobile phones.
- The Governor still has to decide if he will remove due the due process for teachers that has been in place for over 50 years.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group projected a .5% increase in state revenues for the fiscal year starting July 1. This revenue projection will be used to finalize the 2014 and 2015 budgets when the Legislature returns on April 30. This means we are still on track to be below last year’s revenues by 6%. That is bad news for you, our cities, counties, and school districts. The Governor’s own legislative research group projects the state will be bankrupt in a couple of years.
FOOD INSECURITY UPDATE
Recently I reported that Kansas is worse than the national average on food insecurity. Food insecurity means a family is in a situation where food runs out, there is no money to get more food, a family can’t afford a balanced meal, they skip meals, or reduce the size of meals to make food stretch. And this situation lasts 3 months or more. The Kansas state average is 14.4% of Kansans living with food insecurity.
I found numbers by county and here are the results for our area: Shawnee County: 15.4% (27,130 citizens); Osage County: 13.5% (2,200 citizens); Douglas County: 16.9% (18,570 citizens). I hope you will consider helping at a local food pantry, serving Meals on Wheels, or donating to one of the many local agencies working to feed the hungry. With the state working to drop Kansans from the food stamp program, this is only going to get worse.
NEW AUTOMOTIVE BUSINESS IN SCRANTON
Carl’s Tire and Lube is now open in Scranton at 407 Brownie. Hours of operation are 7 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and 7 am to 1 pm on Saturday. Services provided include tires, oil changes, and general maintenance. Drop by and check it out!
LET’S GET TO WORK!
Express Pros in Topeka has job openings in these areas:
- Application developer – $45,000 to $55,000 a year
- Territory sales – $80,000
- Accounts Payable Specialist - $12- $13 per hour
- Legal secretary – $12 to $15 per hour
- Administrative Assistant – $10 to $12 per hour
- Machine operators – $9 to $12 per hour
- Maintenance – $9 per hour
No fees to apply. Apply online at www.expresspros.com and select Topeka or call 785-267-2773 for more information.
If you have community events coming up, let me know. This email goes to nearly 3000 homes in Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas counties. I’d love to help you get the word out! Just remember to send your activities ahead of time.
- Saturday, April 19: Volunteers who want to help pick up tree limbs in Overbrook are asked to gather at the Kansas State Bank parking lot at 9 am. A fun community project that only takes a couple of hours.
- Saturday, April 19: Easter egg hunt at Clinton Presbyterian Church at 2 pm. Bring your own basket.
- Saturday, April 19: Topeka Sunflower Lions Club Pancake Breakfast and silent auction from 7 am to noon at the First Christian Church, 1880 SW Gage. Pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy.
- Saturday, April 19: Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum grounds cleanup. At the museum near Clinton. 9 am.
- Tuesday, April 22: Come help the Overbrook Rotary Club members landscape the Library. Stop by the library and sign up for a work shift.
- Thursday, April 24: Harvesters mobile food pantry at Stull United Methodist Church from noon to 1 pm.
- Thursday, April 24: If you are a parent wanting to know more about the College and Career Readiness Standards, go to the informational meeting at Washburn Rural Middle School, 5620 SW 61st St, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This is important! Learn more about what is available for your child to be successful.
- Saturday, April 26: Overbrook city-wide garage sale.
- Saturday, April 26: Drug Take-Back Day in Douglas County. Residents of Douglas County can drop unwanted medications off at the courthouse in Lawrence for the police station at 4820 Bob Billings Parkway from 10 am to 2 pm. For additional locations participating go to www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.
- Saturday, April 26: Combat Air Museum Celebrity Pancake Feed from 7 am to noon. $6 includes all the pancakes and admission to the Museum. Also includes a variety of items marked for sale.
- Saturday, April 26: Clean up day at Clinton Cemetery. Memorial Day Ceremony will be Monday, May 26th, at the Cemetery.
- Saturday, April 26: ASPCA Help a Horse Day – Horse Rescue Open House at B &C Equine Rescue, 740 SW 125th Street near Carbondale from noon to 4 pm. Learn about horse rescue, therapy programs, horse care and more. For info call Brenda Grimmett at 785-633-3318.
- Saturday, April 26: Get Down and Get Dirty! Community clean-up day in Shawnee County from 10 am to noon. Free lunch, t-shirts and prizes for volunteers. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-224-0446.
- Thursday, May 1: Annual Overbrook Community Prayer Breakfast at the Community Center in the Library. Breakfast served starting at 6 am for a donation. Speaker will be Pastor John Zobel.
- May 2-3: Carbondale City Library flower sale.
- Wednesday, May 7: Tecumseh Community Dinner at the Tecumseh United Methodist Church. 5-6:30 pm. Pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, baked beans. Free will donation.
- Friday, May 2: Bunco tournament for Topeka Common Ground (community gardening support organization) at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, 4775 S 21st. Taco bar included. Starts at 6 pm. $20 admission. Call Judy at 304-0086 to register.
- Saturday, May 3: Topeka Civitan Club golf tournament at Cypress Ridge Golf Course. For information contact Russ Cole at 785-272-5580.
- Saturday, May 3: Shawnee County Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale Extravaganza in the front parking lot at the Extension Office (1740 SW Western Ave) from 8 am to noon. Bedding plants, perennials, and hanging baskets. Don’t miss this one!
- Saturday, May 10: Auburn Lions Club plant sale from 9 am to noon in the parking lot at the Auburn Apple Market. Bedding plants, patio pots, hanging baskets and tomato plants.
- Saturday, May 10: Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging ”No Place Like Home” annual benefit dance. 1950′s Secrets Band at the Great Overland Station. 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Ticket s$20 each or 2/$35. Call 785-235-1367.
- Thursday, May 22: Community Connections Celebration at Santa Fe Park in Osage City from 3-5 pm. Sponsored by ECKAN, a community action agency serving low-income families. Refreshments, children activities, informational booths, drawings, and more!
- June: The Shawnee Heights High School Cross Country team is planning a garage sale in June and they need your donations. Contact Shelly Clubine at 785-357-7924 for pick-up.
- There is story time every Thursday evening at the Auburn Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. No charge!
- Poultry and small animal swap meet at Tractor Supply Company at 710 NE HWY 24 the third Sunday of every month. Great way to support local farmers as there are fresh eggs, live birds and rabbits as well. No buyer or seller fees. Just don’t sell the same stuff the store sells.
- Enjoy BUNCO at the Carbondale Community Building once a month on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Call 785-836-7478 for details about dates, prizes, treats, etc.
- Don’t miss the Beatles display at the WREN radio station in the NOTO district in North Topeka. Ronnie Russell and Tony Wedeking have an extensive display of Beatles memorabilia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British invasion. Runs through April 30.
- The Berryton Pickers are at Berryton Baptist Church the first Saturday of the month from 7 to 9 pm. Bring snacks and have some fun!
- Swap meet the last Saturday of the month from March through October from 7 am to noon at Premier Farm and Home at 900 SW University Blvd (just west of Forbes Air Field). Baby chicks, laying hens, guineas, roosters, rabbits, ducks, geese, eating eggs, hatching eggs, and more! For more info call Karl at 785-547-5046.
- Country and ballroom dancing at Croco Hall on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 pm. For information call Edwina Hamersky at 379-9538.