Wyandotte County project included in new statewide high-speed internet effort

High-speed internet effort launched for rural, underserved communities in Kansas

Kansas launched a new effort to provide broadband service to rural and underserved communities today.

Gov. Laura Kelly established the Office of Broadband Development, which is receiving about $50 million in federal funding that will enable rural and underserved communities to have internet connections for telehealth visits, for remote learning and also to allow more people to work from homes. The office will be in the Kansas Department of Commerce.

It is expected to stimulate economic development in some rural and underserved areas, also, according to officials. Stanley Adams was named to head the new office.

In all, there are 67 projects statewide, many at anchor locations such as schools, health departments, libraries and local governments.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County will receive a $2.8 million grant for providing fiber to premises and fiber to curb, according to the grant announcement. The project would connect existing UG fiber infrastructure with the cities of Bonner Springs, Edwardsville and Kansas City, Kansas.

According to the grant information, the project would connect fiber to curb at countywide public safety and emergency management locations, supply backbone infrastructure to municipal facilities in Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, connect the three major cities in the county to leverage shared functions, extend capacity to an underserved area of the county, and strengthen the county and state’s regional connectivity to the Greater Kansas City metro area for the Next Gen 9-1-1 dispatch connections and Operation Green Light.

Also in the announcement is a grant of just over $3 million for statewide telehealth efforts at the University of Kansas Health System.

According to the announcement, the grant would fund broadband infrastructure enhancements at 27 Care Collaborative member locations across the state to enable telehealth and telemedicine services for patients. It also would support 250 devices with connectivity for patients who do not have access to telehealth.

Sixty-seven projects were awarded a share of nearly $50 million for broadband infrastructure improvements. The projects are funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the federal CARES Act and are part of the connectivity program approved by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce and the State Finance Council.

To see the governor’s news conference, visit https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/videos/1265303990488900.

Two Wyandotte County agencies receive federal grants for criminal justice programs

Two Wyandotte County agencies received grants today for the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program.

The funds are provided to agencies to address crime and improve public safety. Local and state agencies may receive funding to reduce crime, assist with equipment and technology needs, provide crime victim services and prevention activities.

The two agencies receiving funding from today’s grant announcement were Avenue of Life, $238,940; and Edwardsville Police Department, $42,435.

Avenue of Life will use the grant for its reentry program, targeting the families of current and former incarcerated men and women through evidence-based and trauma-informed systems.

The Edwardsville Police Department will purchase updated in-car computer systems and add license plate readers.

A total of $1,885,599 was awarded to 23 agencies.

“My administration will continue to support investments in our state’s criminal justice system and public safety,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in announcing the grants. “These grant funds will go a long way in providing our law enforcement and criminal justice agencies with the resources they need to maintain a safe environment for Kansans.”

“One of the keys to keeping our communities safe in the 21st Century is making sure our law enforcement officers have 21st Century technology, as well as funds to continue deliver critical support programs,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release. “These grants will provide support to help organizations carry out their missions.”

The KCJCC oversees the criminal justice federal funding made available to Kansas through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The KCJCC membership is representative of the Governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Corrections, the Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Several Wyandotte County students graduate from Emporia State

Several Wyandotte County students were among more than 600 students who recently received academic degrees after completing the spring semester at Emporia State University.

The area students included:

  • Mackenzie Shae Duncan of Bonner Springs, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Heather Paige Lund of Bonner Springs, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Ashley Nicole Vest of Bonner Springs, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Morgan Elizabeth Nichols of Edwardsville, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Bridget Lynn Frayer of Kansas City, Kansas, Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in high incidence special education
  • Travon Jones of Kansas City, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in recreation and a minor in coaching
  • Devante Raseem McGee of Kansas City, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in health care
  • Jennifer Lynn Mullins of Kansas City, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Brianna Michelle Shively of Kansas City, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education
  • Maisee Xiong of Kansas City, Kansas, Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education