Butler County Adopts Public Health Declaration

In response to Governor Kelly‘s Executive Order to “temporarily prohibit mass gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19,” and to mirror the preventative actions being taken by the State of Kansas, the Butler County Commissioners held a special meeting on Thursday, March 19 , at 8 AM to discuss the adoption of a Public Health Emergency Declaration and closure of Butler County facilities to the public beginning Monday, March 23rd through, Friday, April 3rd.

County Administrator Will Johnson stated, “With the closure of State offices, school closures and the expansion of travel restrictions occurring after the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, it has become necessary for Butler County to adopt a Public Health Declaration allowing the County flexibility to provide the essential and necessary services required of County Government. The County Commission continues to be committed to the health and safety of our employees and citizens, along with delivery services necessary to carry Butler County through this crisis.”

Butler County Emergency Management Director, Keri Korthals, speaking to the commission about the need for the Public Health Declaration.
Meeting attendees sat with respect to the social distancing guidelines.

Essential services will be provided by appointment only. During the meeting, the Motor Vehicle tag office was cited as not being considered an essential service.

The Butler County Courthouse is among the public facilities to be closed to the public March 23rd through April 3rd.

Also, discussed was protocol for employees affected by a limited shutdown because of the pandemic. Primary among the concern is childcare for essential staff. “Family First” is the motto shared by Johnson. 

Johnson said “Childcare for staff will be provided in some fashion by the county.”

According to Jamie Downs, Director of Public Health, the number of available childcare workers in the county is down 733 providers with the coronavirus outbreak.

Johnson informed the Commissioners that employees are mandated by the state to quarantine immediately upon return from international locations and cruise ship travel as well as California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Washington. This currently affects three Butler County employees.

Board of Commissioners discussing the resolution presented by County Administrator Will Johnson.

Additionally, Johnson said fearful employees considered “non-essential staff” will be allowed to take this time off.

The Motor Vehicle office is one of the non-essential offices to be closed to the public. All essential business will be conducted by appointment to limit the number of gathered individuals. 

Commission meetings will also be closed to the public but will be available through live stream on the Butler County website (www.bucoks.com)  to comply with Kansas Open Meetings Act. 

The one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Butler County, along with two exposed individuals have been quarantined and are being monitored by the Butler County Health Department. 

In a recent report by the National Institute of Health (NIH), many have wondered if they couldn’t simply protect themselves by avoiding people with symptoms of respiratory illness. 

“Unfortunately, the answer is no,” the report went on to state, “A new study shows that simply avoiding symptomatic people will not go far enough to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because researchers have discovered that many individuals can carry the novel coronavirus without showing any of the typical symptoms of COVID-19: fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. But these asymptomatic or only mildly ill individuals can still shed virus and infect others.

“This conclusion adds further weight to the recent guidance from U.S. public health experts: what we need most right now to slow the stealthy spread of this new coronavirus is a full implementation of social distancing. What exactly does social distancing mean? Well, for starters, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces. Other recommendations include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, no handshakes, regular handwashing, and, when encountering someone outside of your immediate household, trying to remain at least 6 feet apart.”

With journal studies, as well as evidence from asymptomatic patients testing positive for COVID-19, proving it is possible to test positive for Covid-19 without symptoms, it is unethical to act otherwise. 

While there is no need to panic, this reality underscores the need to strictly adhere to social distancing, self quarantine and increased diligence to personal hygiene for the welfare of public health. It is necessary. It is about saving lives and protecting loved ones. We must all take it seriously.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests are currently restricted to medical personnel, first responders those who are symptomatic or known to be exposed to positive cases.  This is due to the low number of supplies available. 

The Butler County Health Department does not have test kits. All testing is currently being done at the state level. 

While there may be no testing done on asymptomatic individuals who have no known contact with a positive case, there is still room for the virus to travel freely for weeks unknown. 

Cavalier or dismissive attitudes do not change the facts. Ignorance in this case is not bliss. We are in a critical time and to establish and enforce strict safety measures in order to get ahead of the virus and help contain this pandemic. 

Alternatively, running to stores and clearing shelves of food and supplies, including toilet paper, has increased the hysteria and panic.  This behavior only serves to perpetuate the fear surrounding the coronavirus, as well as preventing people who need to purchase basic necessities from having access.

Using common sense, thinking of your fellow man and following the guidelines established by national, state, local authorities will help us stay ahead of the virus. In six months, we are going to look back at this time and say, “We overreacted” or “We didn’t do enough.” 

The resolution, approved 4-1 with Myers in opposition, recommends the following:

  • Recommended no gatherings greater than fifty (50) people through May 10th, or until the situation changes, in line with CDC recommendations.
  • Recommended the County Administrator follow KDHE & CDC protocols for recommendations related to County services and employees.
  • Encouraged County residents to utilize web-based or mail-in services instead of visiting
  • County facilities in person.
  • Cancelled all 4H Building rentals along with activities through May 10th.
  • Cancelled the Department on Aging’s Spring Fling event in May.
  • Cancelled all Commissioner Senior Center visitations and luncheons through May.
  • Cancelled all out of state travel through May 10th.
  • Required County employees to quarantine for fourteen (14) days if they had traveled to any restricted areas, as outlined by the CDC.
  • Restricted County employee personal travel to CDC restricted areas.
  • Discontinued any new vacation requests for Public Safety employees or critical essential employees (Health, Sheriff, 911, EMS, Emergency Management).

KSDE Hears Computer Science Task Force Recommendations

In a partnership with Flagship Kansas.Tech and Code.org, Miss Southwest Sierra Marie Bonn, along with technology industry leaders Joy Eakins, President of Cornerstone Data and Luis Rodriguez, KeyCentrix LLC, and Code.org and Project Lead the Way facilitator, Jessica Asbury a teacher at Piper East Elementary School, advocated for the adoption of the Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force Recommendations.

IMG-7723
Board of Education Representatives listened to public testimony and received the Computer Science Task Force Recommendations at the January 2020 board meeting.

They urged the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Board of Education to adopt the recommendations.

The Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force was formed in June 2019 with the mission of creating recommendations for the Kansas State Board of Education to further computer science education throughout Kansas. 

Those recommendations are: 

Recommendation 1: KSDE creates a dedicated Computer Science education position 

Recommendation 2: KSDE should encourage all schools to offer computer science 

Recommendation 3: Computer Science should satisfy a core graduation requirement 

Recommendation 4: Create Licensure Endorsement

Recommendation 5: Arrange Funding

Katie Hendrickson, Director of State Government Affairs for Code.org, said “Code.org and our Advocacy Coalition (advocacy.code.org) are thrilled with the recommendations from the Kansas Computer Science Task Force. These five recommendations align with the policies recommended by our coalition, and, if adopted, would make significant progress in ensuring that every student in Kansas has access to a high-quality computer science education. We applaud the efforts by the state board and department of education and look forward to supporting their work expanding computer science across the state.”

“For Kansas to lead the world in the success of each student,” said Flagship Kansas.Tech Executive Director Lisa Roberts Proffitt, “it is imperative that we offer each one the opportunity to learn computer science so that they are prepared for every career. We need to support these opportunities for our students to thrive in their home state by providing each student with the opportunity to take computer science.”

Sierra Marie Bonn advocates for STEAM education and engagement to empower the next generation of innovators, through her initiative “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” 

IMG-7714
Sierra Marie Bonn speaking to the Kansas Department of Education’s Board of Education, where she was advocating for the adoption of the Computer Science Task Force Recommendations.

Bonn shared her experiences with computer science classes at Wichita State University, where she attends college and the lack of coursework that was available to her at the highschool level.  

“I didn’t take a computer science class in highschool, I didn’t take a computer science class until my sophomore year of college. In high school, we were fortunate enough to be issued individual computers to use for writing reports and for doing research, but the only official training we received was a half-day orientation at the beginning of 9th grade.” Bonn said.  

“We need policy change in education now,” Bonn said.  

“Nearly everything I know how to do on a computer is self-taught. When I entered my first Computer Science class in college, I realized I was far behind my peers.  The Biomedical Computer Applications class taught me very basic programming and 3-D drafting skills, but more importantly, it taught me how to think in algorithms and to view the world as a series of systems. Once I had that realization, my learning, my leading, and my life shifted,” she told the Board. 

Bonn began her college career as a biomedical engineering student, but after learning about computer science and how technology pervades nearly every field, she realized that by changing her major she could focus on the innovation that Computer Science brings. 

“Unfortunately, with the major change,” she said, “I fell even further behind my peers. While I don’t mind playing catch-up, it made me think of all the other students out there who don’t currently receive a well-rounded STEAM education to set them up for success in the innovative workforce. That’s how I began advocating for STEAM education and engagement through my social initiative, Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” 

sunflower science
Bonn facilitating “Sunflower Science” with students at Sullivan Elementary in Ulysses, Kansas.  

Bonn enters school classrooms, Girl Scout camps, and college campuses across the country to provide students a variety of workshops to help them realize their potential for innovation. 

“One of my favorites is an algorithm activity that I do with the third graders, where we learn about how to structure algorithms through potting vegetable plants,” Bonn said. “This shows the students that computer science is important, not just for tech jobs, but for anything they want to do.” 

“We are in the era of innovation,” Bonn told the Board.  “In order for us to continue progressing as a society and growing our innovative workforce, we must set our students and future innovators up for success. Everyone deserves a basic understanding of Computer Science. 

“This is why the policy recommendations are so important,” Bonn said.  “They will begin to ensure that students have access to computer science in K-12.” 

The Mission of the State Board of Education is to prepare Kansas students for lifelong success through rigorous, quality academic instruction, career training and character development according to each student’s gifts and talents. The Kansans CAN Vision is to “Lead the World in the Success of Each Student.”

The KSDE Board of Education will make their decision on the recommendations at the next meeting which will be held in Topeka, at the Landon State Office Building, Board Room, Suite 102, 900 SW Jackson, on February 11th and 12th. 

Bonn is asking all Kansans to contact their Board of Education representative and ask them to adopt the Kansas Computer Science Education Implementation Task Force Recommendations. 

According to the KSDE website, “The Kansas State Board of Education consists of 10 elected members, each representing a district comprised of four contiguous senatorial districts. Board members serve four-year terms with an overlapping schedule.”

Kansas State Board of Education

Janet Waugh – District 1

715 N. 74th

Kansas City, KS 66112

(913) 620-5062 (cell)

jwaugh@ksde.org

Steve Roberts – District 2

9126 Riggs Lane, Apt. B Overland Park, KS 66212

(913) 302-8185 (cell) 

sroberts@ksde.org

Michelle Dombrosky – District 3

14248 W. 157th St. Olathe, KS 66062

(913) 782-1835 (home) 

mdombrosky@ksde.org

Ann E. Mah – District 4

3351 SE Meadowview Dr. Topeka, KS 66605

(785) 266-9434 (home)

(785) 231-0823 (cell)

amah@ksde.org

Jean Clifford – District 5

102 Drury Lane

Garden City, KS 67846

(620) 275-4317 (home)

jclifford@ksde.org    

Deena Horst – District 6

920 S. 9th

Salina, KS 67401

(785) 827-8540 (home)

(785) 822-5521 (cell)

dhorst@ksde.org

Ben Jones – District 7

PO Box 266

Sterling, KS 67579

(620) 278-6063 (cell)

bjones@ksde.org

Kathy Busch – District 8

238 N. Ridgewood Wichita, KS 67208 (316) 682-5718 (home) 

kbusch@ksde.org

Jim Porter – District 9

501 S. 7th

Fredonia, KS 66736

(316) 617-6779 (cell)

jporter@ksde.org

Jim McNiece – District 10

1213 Manchester Court Wichita, KS 67212

(316) 729-9742 (home)

(316) 708 5752 (cell)

jmcniece@ksde.org

 

 

Sam Binter Tennis Complex

The Ribbon Cutting and Dedication hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce was held Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30pm.

Among the guests in attendance was former Superintendent Sue Givens, along with current school board members and City Commissioners.  The tennis court project was a joint venture between the City of El Dorado and USD490.

Mayor Vince Haines and Superintendent Teresa Tosh shared remarks with the crowd before USD490 School Board President, Norm Wilks help Mayor Haines cut the ribbon.

Mayor Vince Haines and USD490 Board of Education President Norm Wilkes cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Sam Binter Tennis Complex located on North Main Street. 

Sam Binter, left, and USD490 Superintendent Teresa Tosh with the comparative plaque. 

USD 490 2019-2020 Board Appointments

While certainly not a new face at the USD 490 BOE meetings, Superintendent Teresa Tosh has been attending meetings since she was hired earlier this year.  However, this was her first monthly board meeting since assuming the helm from Sue Givens who retired at the end of June.  

During the meeting Kimberly Koop, Director of Information Services was recognized by the board for the BG Stadium Annual Report she submitted.  The report earned a National School Public Relations Award.  

Actions taken by the Board included the Reorganization of the Board of Education for 2019-2020.  A resolution to extend terms of current officers of the board was approved, as were board appointments. 

Those appointments were: 

Melissa Smith was appointed Clerk of the Board and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson was appointed Assistant Clerk of the Board

Director of Human Resources Lynda Sharp and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson as KPERS Representatives

Wendy McAdoo as Board Treasurer for the 2019-2020 School Year 

Melissa Smith as District Food Service Program Representative

Kathy Robertson as Hearing Officer for Free and Reduced Meal Application Appeals

DeAnna Pierce, Elementary Assistant Principal as Local Consolidated Plan Coordinator

Norm Wilks as KASB Governmental Relations Representative

Heather Nichols as Representative to the Special Education Cooperative Board

Vicki Coash as the Ex Officio Representative to Partners in Education Foundation Board of Directors. 

Superintendent Teresa Tosh as the District Freedom of Information Officer

Director of Information Services Kim Koop as District Records Custodian

Norm Wilks and Tom Storrer as Board Representatives on the 2019-2020 Negotiations Team.

Tom Storrer to serve on the District Leadership Team for 2019-2020

Norm Wilks and Monty Hughey to serve on the Educational Facility Authority of Butler County for 2019-2020, with Tom Storrer as an alternate

2019-2020 School Site Councils Representatives:

Skelly Elementary School—Vicki Coash

Blackmore Elementary School— Sharon Waugh

Grandview Elementary School— Monty Hughey

El Dorado Middle School—Heather Nichols 

With the 2019-2020 school year beginning on Tuesday, August 13the for grades PreK-6 and 9 and Wednesday, August 14th for grades 7, 8, and 10-12, walk-in enrollment begins on August 5th.  New Teacher Orientation will be held that day as well and an all-staff meeting will be conducted on August 6th.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, July 29th at the DIstrict Office.  

 

NLRB Hears Allegations Against SBA

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held a hearing at the Butler County Judicial Center involving charges made against Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital by former employees, Lori R. Dashner and Gay Kimble.

 The NLRB was created in 1935 by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the law that governs relations between labor unions and employers whose operations involve interstate commerce. 

Dashner and Kimble, who were terminated within an hour of one another, claim they were illegally terminated and they were fired as a result of “Concerted Activities.” 

Alan Rupe, attorney for Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital (SBA), noted in his opening statements that some of the employee activities fell under protected concerted activities.  However, he added the employees were not terminated for those activities. 

In an official statement released by SBA, they contend the employees were terminated as a result of safety and security breaches.  

“Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital maintains that it operated within the guidelines of the National Labor Relations Act. All personnel decisions are made with the intent to protect the safety of the patients and employees at SBA.”

According to the NLRB, under the protection of concerted activities, employees have the right to act with co-workers to address work-related issues in many ways.  Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to the employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in [the] workplace. [An] employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten for, or coercively question about, protected concerted activity.  A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. However, [employees] can lose protection by saying or doing something egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging [the] employer’s products or services without relating complaints to any labor controversy.

The complaints filed by Dashner and Kimble cited Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” 

Employers are restricted from the following actions:

  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences, such as closing the workplace, loss of benefits, or more onerous working conditions, if they support a union, engage in union activity, or select a union to represent them.
  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is “concerted” if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is “protected” if it concerns employees’ interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act’s protection through misconduct.)
  • Promise employees benefits if they reject the union.
  • Imply a promise of benefits by soliciting grievances from employees during a union organizing campaign. (However, if you regularly solicited employee grievances before the campaign began, you may continue that practice unchanged.)
  • Confer benefits on employees during a union organizing campaign to induce employees to vote against the union.
  • Withhold changes in wages or benefits during a union organizing campaign that would have been made had the union not been on the scene, unless you make clear to employees that the change will occur whether or not they select the union, and that your sole purpose in postponing the change is to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the outcome of the election.
  • Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers’ union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.)
  • Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects.
  • Poll your employees to determine the extent of their support for a union, unless you comply with certain safeguards. You must not have engaged in unfair labor practices or otherwise created a coercive atmosphere. In addition, you must (1) communicate to employees that the purpose of the poll is to determine whether the union enjoys majority support (and that must, in truth, be your purpose); (2) give employees assurances against reprisal; and (3) conduct the poll by secret ballot.
  • Spy on employees’ union activities. (“Spying” means doing something out of the ordinary to observe the activity. Seeing open union activity in workplace areas frequented by supervisors is not “spying.”)
  • Create the impression that you are spying on employees’ union activities.
  • Photograph or videotape employees engaged in peaceful union or other protected activities.
  • Solicit individual employees to appear in a campaign video.
  • Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act.
  • Deny off-duty employees access to outside nonworking areas of your property, unless business reasons justify it.
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union buttons, t-shirts, and other union insignia unless special circumstances warrant.
  • Convey the message that selecting a union would be futile.
  • Discipline or discharge a union-represented employee for refusing to submit, without a representative, to an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes may result in discipline.
  • Interview employees to prepare your defense in an unfair labor practice case, unless you provide certain assurances. You must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him against reprisals, and obtain his voluntary participation. Questioning must occur in a context free from employer hostility to union organization and must not itself be coercive. And questioning must not go beyond what is needful to achieve its legitimate purpose. That is, you may not pry into other union matters, elicit information concerning the employee’s subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfere with employee rights under the Act.
  • Initiate, solicit employees to sign, or lend more than minimal support to or approval of a decertification or union-disaffection petition.
  • Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities.

After two days of evidentiary hearings, the judge gave both sides an August 6th deadline to present briefs for his consideration.  A decision is not expected until later this year. 

 

Noise Complaint from Neighbor of Wichita PD Officer

At the most recent Board of Butler County Commissioners meeting, Butler County resident of Douglass, Jeff Runyon appeared before the Board during the “Public Comments” to appeal for help in resolving a long-running nuisance with neighbor who is a Wichita Police Department Officer.

Citing the near daily running of 4-Wheelers, Mr. Runyan expressed his frustration with the noise pollution. “These are not regular four wheelers, they are racing bikes with hardly any mufflers [and] has gone on for 5 years.”  He stated the noise level has increased each year.

He presented a specific incident when he called the Sheriff’s office. On October 1, 2016, the noise began at 8a in the morning and continued all day. From his home, half a mile away, he documented the noise with a decibel meter at 79 decibels. After canister fireworks went off, he called the Sheriff, it was approximately 10:30p.  Once the Sheriff’s deputy had left, Mr. Runyan heard individuals get back on the bikes and make comments such as “take that.”

In addition to the disruption to daily life, he noted “You can’t do anything without wondering when and where it’s going to start up.” Also, he has witnessed that the behavior is harassing wildlife.

Pleading with the Commission, he asked for serious help in putting together a noise resolution that can be enforced. “It is obnoxious behavior.  Where’s our rights and what can we do?”

“[Mr. Runyan] is not only one in that area complaining”  stated Commissioner Woydziak “We need to look at an enforceable law.”

Sheriff Kelly Herzet can not currently issue a ticket according to Butler County Attorney, Darrin Devinney.  He presented the challenges to prosecution under the active ordinance. It is an undetermined misdemeanor imposing a $500-$2000 fine for a first offense as a Class A misdemeanor.

Some of those challenges include the need for standardized equipment to enforce, as well as the cumulative effect of sound as a problem. Mr. Devinney asked, “Do we [prosecute] the land owner or all the parties? We have talked about this at length.  Sheriff Herzet and David Alfaro have spoken with Mr. Runyan regarding the remedies available to him.”

Sheriff Herzet has been accumulating sound ordinances violation for several years and this situation has been well documented.

Commissioner Masterson asked if a decibel level is set within the current ordinance and it was identified as limiting the allowable decibel level.

With respect to obtaining standardized equips for the department, he stated, “A decibel meter is not too expensive.” Sheriff Herzet outlines the actions he has taken. “What I’ve done is I have reached out. This guy is a Wichita police officer. Made contact … to let him know we’re on a complaint.” Sheriff Herzet added, “I like riding motorcycles but not from 8a-10p.”

County Administrator, Will Johnson informed the Commission that the complaint of out of season fireworks is currently enforceable.

The Commission determined to investigate how to amend the ordinance.

Disaster Declaration Extended for Butler County

Keri Korthal, Director of Emergency Management, appeared before the Board of Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 28th to request an extension of the Disaster Declaration due to the fact that Butler County experienced another round of heavy rainfall and stormy weather.

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

The state has established the dates of April 28 and ongoing, at this time, to ensure everything possible is included before they go forward with a Presidential Declaration. There is already an estimated $2 million in damages from the first wave of storms.

The Commission voted to approve the extension for another seven (7) days.

With the announcement that President Trump approved Governor Kelly’s request for a disaster declaration, Director Keri Korthals and the Emergency Management team is starting to field questions about what that means for Butler County, and unfortunately, the information that’s out there is a little sparse at the moment; other than the message that Butler County is included.  So, Korthals shares with us what it means. “Does it indicate that FEMA funds will begin flowing into our county to repair roads and rebuild houses? Well, no, not exactly.”

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

According to Korthals, “There are actually two types of declarations that our Governor can request for our state’s current situation: an Emergency Declaration (the one Kansas received) and a Major Disaster Declaration (the one that’s often referred to as a ‘Presidential Disaster Declaration’).”

“An Emergency Declaration,” states Korthals, “provides federal money for those immediate life/health/public safety activities that jurisdictions have been (and are still) conducting: sandbagging, performing water rescues or search and rescue, barricading roads, opening emergency shelters, clearing hazardous debris. It won’t do anything that’s considered a longer-term fix, i.e. rebuilding a road or repairing a flood damaged building.”

Additionally, “The Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) has been meeting with all of the counties that have been impacted by this month’s storms and flooding, and they’re collecting the facts and figures that would support a Major Disaster Declaration.  They have already visited Butler County and gotten our information, but last we heard, they were still working their way through their massive list of locally-declared counties. When all their information has been compiled, then Governor Kelly can make a decision on requesting a Major Disaster Declaration.”

Korthals advises, “Be aware that these declarations sometimes only provide for road/bridge/building/infrastructure help for governments, like cities and townships, not private citizens. Definitely check the fine print.”

Learn more about FEMA disaster declarations.