The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities in cooperation with the United Way of Wyandotte County have made some changes in its utility assistance program that will help more area residents avoid potential disruption, or provide for the restoration of, utility services when they are experiencing financial hardship due to unforeseen events.

The goal of the program is to help Wyandotte County residents offset a portion of their utility expenses (up to $500 annually) for specific hardship causes, including a health emergency, a change in employment or income status, a change in family composition or marital status, or unforeseen documented expenses, according to a spokesman. To be eligible, an applicant must lack the funds to make their payment for BPU utility services due to one of these causes.

Applicants must have received six months of continuous BPU service. Allowable expenditures can only be applied toward BPU water and electric utility services – and do not cover deposits, connections or reconnection fees. BPU will refer customers to the United Way of Wyandotte County who will be serving as administrator of this program.

Applicants must also provide proof of eligibility, including proof of income or lack of income, a verification of expenses, as well as verification that the applicant is a resident of the address listed on the utility bill.

“As a not-for-profit community owned utility, we understand that unplanned events do occur and that at times our customers may have difficulty making ends meet,” stated Don Gray, general manager of BPU. “The BPU hardship payment service program will help those who have trouble meeting their utility expenses with a one-time hardship assistance payment to ensure continued utility service.”

The BPU Customer Hardship Payment Service Program is only available to Wyandotte County residents, but stands to help hundreds of customers that may find themselves in financial trouble due to unforeseen circumstances.

Interested applicants should contact BPU customer service at 913-573-9190 or the Hardship Hotline at 913-371-6772 for more information.


State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald and Gov. Sam Brownback are planning to attend a town hall meeting Sept. 3 in Leavenworth, Kan., to discuss the issue of transferring Guantanamo Bay inmates to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

The town hall meeting will be at 4 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Riverfront Community Center, 123 S. Esplanade St., Leavenworth. It is open to the public.

Sen. Fitzgerald and Gov. Brownback are opposed to a proposal that would transfer detainees, many of whom are terrorists, currently held at a military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Among the detainees is a man who was called the mastermind of Sept. 11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The governor and other Kansas elected leaders have sent letters to defense officials opposing the transfer of the prisoners to Kansas.


Independence, Mo., police officers this morning chased a possible stolen vehicle from Independence to Kansas City, Kan.

It started about 9:05 a.m. Tuesday when the Independence Police Department was notified by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department that it was following the possible stolen vehicle into Independence.

The suspect vehicle had made a stop at the Missouri Probation and Parole office at 42nd and Noland Road, according to an Independence police spokesman.

When officers attempted to block the suspect vehicle from leaving, the suspect rammed an Independence police vehicle and a citizen’s parked car to make an escape, the spokesman said. The pursuit started with the suspect headed westbound on I-70 from Independence.

The chase went through Kansas City, Mo., where that police department took the main lead in the pursuit, then into Kansas City, Kan., where the Kansas Highway Patrol took the lead, the Independence spokesman stated.

The suspect drove to the area of the 3800 block of Lloyd Street, and then the suspect drove off the road into a wooded area and fled on foot, according to the spokesman.

A perimeter of police officers from the different jurisdictions was set up to begin a search for the suspect, the spokesman said.

There were no reported injuries during the pursuit, according to the spokesman. A subsequent investigation has revealed the identity of the suspect and a warrant listing subsequent charges is being sought at this time, the Independence police spokesman said.