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A fire at a vacant home today at 2039 N. 7th St. is under investigation, according to the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department.

The fire occurred at 4:01 p.m., and was brought under control in 20 minutes, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.

The fire was reported on the upper levels of the three-story wood-framed home.

The estimated damage was $10,000 to the $40,000 home.

There were no injuries reported.

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by KHI News Service

Washington, D.C. — Academic institutions and educational organizations in Kansas and Missouri were awarded federal grants of more than $1.2 million to train mental health providers and expand community efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

The grants were among $99 million disbursed by HHS under the Obama administration’s “Now Is the Time” plan aimed at reducing gun violence, increasing access to mental health services and making schools safer, according to a department news release.

“The Administration is committed to increasing access to mental health services to protect the health of children and communities,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “Today, I am pleased to announce another step the Department is taking to help ensure that our young people have access to the mental health services they need to reach their full potential.”

Awards to educate and train mental health professionals include:

• University of Kansas Center for Research in Lawrence, $242,857.
• University of Missouri-Kansas City, $132,924.
• University of Missouri-St. Louis, $312,807.
• Saint Louis University, $77,681.
• Washington University in St. Louis, $146,143.
• Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City, Mo., $299,712.
Local educational agency grants for Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) include:
• Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, Girard, $97,884.
• Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, $99,960.

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment. All News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution, including a link back to when a story is reposted online. More about the News Service at or contact 785-233-5443.

Metro Lutheran Ministry Board member Duane Dean, left, looked over a new shower at St. Luke's Lutheran Church with Pastor Scott Eberlein. (Photo from Dale Garrison)
Metro Lutheran Ministry Board member Duane Dean, left, looked over a new shower at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church with Pastor Scott Eberlein. (Photo from Dale Garrison)

by Dale Garrison

A recent example of Metro Lutheran Ministry’s effective volunteer program involves construction at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 722 Reynolds, in Kansas City, Kan.

The site of MLM’s Wyandotte County Community Care Center, the project included installation of three showers on two floors, along with installation of a washer and dryer. One of the showers is handicapped accessible. People who visit the Saturday breakfast program or the weekday pantry can now perform basic hygiene that, for the homeless, is often impossible. Not only does it add significantly to health and comfort, it makes other things more possible, especially much needed job interviews.

The story behind the effort involves MLM board member Duane Dean, who owns Miller Stauch Construction Company, which is only a few blocks from the church. He heard through MLM that the church pastors had mentioned the need and acted.

“Basically, we wanted to make it a good situation for people who don’t have access to showers and laundry facilities,” Dean explained. “Now when people come in to have breakfast or pick up food supplies, they have access to this. Some are living on the street and really need a place to go and clean up.”

Dean said the effort was not difficult for his commercial construction company, but with his experience volunteering at MLM Saturday breakfasts and now serving as a volunteer board member, he had no doubt about the need.

“We were grateful to be part of it,” he said. “I thought, ‘Here’s something that we can do where we can help people in the community.’ It’s a real need, so to have the opportunity to help out is something that doesn’t come along often.”

He’s seen other MLM successes since first becoming aware of the organization through St. Luke’s co-pastors Scott Eberlein and Luke Kammrath.

“I just got hooked there,” he laughed. “I thought, ‘These guys are serious. They have a great program and mean business.’ That makes it easy to make a decision to lend a hand. Otherwise, how do you break the cycle? How do you break the chain?”