Archive for August 2017

Officials: Plan ahead, be safe if traveling during solar eclipse

Law enforcement and highway officials in Kansas are encouraging people to plan ahead in order to enjoy the solar eclipse safely on Monday, Aug. 21.

Increased traffic is anticipated across the state, and travelers are expected to flock to the areas where the total eclipse of the moon passing in front of the sun will be seen. This includes northeast Kansas, and parts of Wyandotte County are in the total eclipse path, according to a NASA map.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated that about 200 million people live within driving distance of the eclipse’s path of totality, the officials stated. Others will be able to see a partial eclipse.

Highway officials said they expect an increase in travel time and traffic. Travelers should be patient, avoid distractions and practice safe driving habits, the officials said.

“We understand the excitement around the solar eclipse, and we encourage Kansans and our travelers to enjoy this rare opportunity. We do, however, want you to remain safe as you take the opportunity to witness this occurrence,” said Lt. Adam Winters, KHP public information officer.

Officials encouraged travelers to follow these tips to drive safely on Aug. 21:

• Allow plenty of travel time to reach a safe place for viewing, as roads may be congested due to increased traffic.
• Do not take photos or wear the eclipse sunglasses when driving.
• Do not pull over to the side of the highway to view the solar eclipse. Find a location off the highway and right-of-way to observe and/or take photos.
• If you are driving during the eclipse, turn on your headlights and do not rely on your automatic headlights.
• Expect the unexpected: watch out for other drivers and pedestrians.
• Plan ahead for fuel needs and always remember to keep your gas tank full during long trips.

It is also important to be prepared in case of emergencies and create a travel safety kit, officials said. Some items to consider for a travel kit may include:

• Non-perishable foods
• Water
• A first-aid kit and any prescription medications needed
• Motor oil
• Antifreeze
• Fuel
• Jumper cables
• Brake fluid
• Windshield washer fluid
• A map

Check the weather and plan accordingly – make sure to dress properly and be fully prepared for potential weather incidents when driving long distances, highway officials stated. For information on road conditions, check out or call 5-1-1 in Kansas or 1-866-511-KDOT (5368) in the United States.

– Information from KDOT

For an earlier story, see


Opinion: Another senseless tragedy should inspire wide condemnation

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

Not too long ago, in 2015, I wrote an opinion column deploring a shooting tragedy at a church in South Carolina, where the assailant was reportedly a white supremacist.

Here we are with another tragedy last weekend, this time involving a white supremacists’ rally in Virginia. It was an act of domestic terrorism when a vehicle was driven by a white supremacist sympathizer into a crowd of people protesting against neo-Nazis, killing one and injuring many more, according to news reports.

This incident again is one that should be widely condemned in America. If members of the public are afraid to speak out about their opposition to the white supremacists’ violence, some leaders may assume the public has no opinion or they are in favor of the discrimination and hatred represented by this group.

In the background of this incident last weekend were attempts to take down statues of Confederate soldiers and officials in Virginia. Such changes are up to the community and state – and they reflect a changing society. In the Kansas City area, community leaders ought to consider changing the name of Johnson County, Kansas – a county named after a founder who held slaves – and all the accompanying institutions and the street named after Thomas Johnson.

A few important points after watching the news about violence and a death in Charlottesville, Va., following a white supremacists’ rally:

• I am appalled by the violence that took place at a white supremacists’ rally over the weekend in Virginia, in which a woman died after a car ran into a crowd of protesters.

• I do not support any of the positions or actions of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and KKK. Discrimination and hate are wrong.

• I believe the vast majority of Americans, of all backgrounds, do not support them, either. Our multicultural society can work if we work at it.

• I support the rights of all persons in America for equal opportunity, justice, and the right to live a life free from persecution.

• I, and many of you, had relatives who fought for the United States against Nazis in World War II, and these relatives were on the morally correct side.

• I have seen a historically preserved Nazi death camp in Germany, and it represents the low point of humanity. Never again should we knowingly let white supremacists rise to political power.

• People should speak out against the white supremacists, including rallies, letters and public statements, but they should not use violence in their responses. The original White House statement and some later statements were not strong enough against this group.

• More efforts should be made to make sure teens and young adults find their place in society so they are not attracted to violent fringe groups.

• This is a good time to look inward and try to do away with any hate directed toward any individual or group.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email


Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Wyandotte County

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Wyandotte County until 10 p.m. tonight, Aug. 16, according to the National Weather Service.

Nearby counties including Leavenworth and Johnson counties, along with about 27 other Kansas counties, are in the thunderstorm watch area, according to the weather service.

Around 3:15 p.m., a weather service radar map was showing a large group of storms moving to the south and east of the Kansas City area.

Another smaller group of storms and showers was located in the Ottawa, Kan., area, approaching the Kansas City area.

The temperature was 88 degrees, with a heat index of 96, at 3 p.m. today in Kansas City, Kansas.

Tonight, expect a 90 percent chance of showers and storms, mainly before 2 am., according to the weather service, with between three-fourths and one inch of rain possible.

To keep current with weather conditions, visit, and enter your city name.