An extreme makeover for water

by Nozella Brown
If it’s hot and muggy, staying hydrated is a must. But do I have to drink water? The kids whine, even the grown kids.

Telling them all the benefits of water—lower cost, fewer calories, increased energy, improved digestion and other health rewards- doesn’t help. They say plain water is boring.

This is especially true when there are so many sweeter options on the market—fruit drinks, sports drinks, soda pop, and vitamin water. Besides adding a slice of lemon, is there any other way to spruce up this liquid asset so it can compete with its unhealthy alternatives?

For refreshing, healthy coolers, here are a few ideas that you can add to a 12-16 ounce cup of water:
• Fresh or frozen berries
• Fresh or frozen pineapple, cantaloupe, mango or watermelon chunks or puree
• Crushed fresh peppermint, spearmint or lemon balm leaves; add a teaspoon of sweetener if desired.
• Half cup of 100 percent fruit juice
• Ice cubes made of 100 percent fruit juice or fruit puree
• Lime slices alone, or with basil, mint leaves or cucumber slices
• Chopped apples and cinnamon sticks

Or, use your creativity and discover your family’s favorite extreme water makeover. You’ll be hydrated all summer and be closer to a healthier lifestyle.

Nozella Brown, who holds a doctorate in education, is a Family and Consumer Science educator for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. She would love to hear your ideas. Email her at For more recipes visit Like the Facebook page at and follow on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.

Coolest Minty H20
Makes: 8 1–cup servings
2 quarts cold water
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
3/4 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 lemon or lime thinly sliced (optional)
Wash hands and countertops. Put mint in empty pitcher and mash with wooden spoon. Add cucumber slices and water. Put pitcher in refrigerator an hour. Strain mint and cucumber and serve. Use lemon as a garnish for each serving, if desired.
Nutritional information for each serving: 10 calories, 0.1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2.1g carbohydrates, 0.8g fiber, 0g sugars, 10mg sodium, 0.5g protein, 7% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamin C, 2% calcium, 10% iron.

KCKCC receives three grants to help fund Saturday Academy

The Saturday Academy program at Kansas City Kansas Community College recently received three grants. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge
Kansas City Kansas Community College is the recipient of three grants that will go toward funding its long-running Saturday Academy program.

More than 150 students in middle and high school from the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools participated in the Saturday Academy during the 2013-2014 academic year.

The academy was originally founded in 1999 to increase minority involvement in the health and science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. Ninety-six percent of the more than 200 academy graduates have entered colleges and universities, with 68 percent choosing careers as STEM majors.

The Saturday Academy is part of a bigger program called the KCKCC Urban Academy. This program includes a Youth Leadership and Development Corps and a Summer Science Residential Academy at the University of Kansas, along with the Saturday Academy.

“Almost 300 students apply for a spot in the Saturday Academy every year,” said Edward Kremer, dean of the Division of Mathematics, Science and Computer Technology at KCKCC. “We see this as a pipeline to get students into college. Of the students that graduate from the Saturday Academy, they receive between $150,000 and $500,000 in scholarships, sometimes even more than that.”

KCKCC was awarded a $25,000 grant through the Kansas Health Foundation’s Recognition Grants program. The Recognition Grants program expands the Kansas Health Foundation’s support to a broad range of health-related organizations throughout the state of Kansas.

The program targets organizations and agencies that propose meaningful and charitable projects or initiatives that fit within the foundation’s mission of improving health in Kansas. The foundation provided approximately $1.2 million to 66 different projects this grant cycle. Any tax-exempt, nonprofit organization using the money for charitable purposes and proposing a project that meets the foundation’s mission is eligible.

The second grant was awarded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The $45,000 grant will go toward operation costs of the six-week summer camp at KU. The camp is for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors and allows them to participate in research projects and internships in cooperation with the University of Kansas Medical Center. Instruction is given in math, science, language arts and computer technology and students have the opportunity to go on field trips and participate in college test preparation while at KU.

“This is a six week, residential stay camp at KU where the students do enrichment and college-prep type of work in math and science,” Kremer said. “This grant is the reason we are able to still offer the KU program this summer.”

The final grant is a $2,500 grant from DST Systems, which will also go toward the operation of the Saturday Academy. KCKCC has received this grant for the last several years.

“In the last 15 years, we have graduated more than 250 kids who have come through our pipeline,” Kremer said. “In addition, more than 454 teachers have participated, either from USD 500 or the community college. It is a terrific opportunity for students and continues to be a great way to get students interested in the STEM fields.”

For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit For more information on the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, visit For more information on KCKCC’s Saturday Academy, contact Edward Kremer at 913-288-7111 or email

Kelly Rogge is the supervisor of public information at KCKCC.

The Saturday Academy program at Kansas City Kansas Community College recently received three grants. (KCKCC photo)

The Saturday Academy program at Kansas City Kansas Community College recently received three grants. (KCKCC photo)

BPU’s water program receives national award for outstanding performance

At the awards presentation were, left to right, John Donahue, AWWA president; Jim Epp, manager of water operations; D.J. Johnson, director of water processing; Robert Milan Sr., BPU board vice president; and Peter Grevatt, director of the USEPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. (Submitted photo)

The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities has received the “Five Year Directors Award of Recognition” from the Partnership for Safe Water for maintaining and exceeding required federal drinking water standards, and for consistently having one of the top water systems in the nation.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said Don Gray, general manager. “BPU’s goal is to deliver reliable, quality water to our customers and the community, and this achievement recognizes our team’s efforts and our continued commitment to protecting public health.”

The BPU was presented the five-year award after successfully completing a comprehensive evaluation of its treatment plant operations and performance, identifying performance limiting factors, and the development of action plans to achieve optimization.

It was one of the first utilities in the metropolitan area and state of Kansas to be recognized with a Partnership for Safe Water Award, receiving its first award from this group in 2009. It is the only utility in the area to receive the “Five Year Directors Award of Recognition” milestone for five consecutive years of performance.

The Partnership for Safe Water is a national initiative developed by the EPA and other water organizations to guide water suppliers toward improving water quality by optimizing system operations. It has more than 250 members that collectively serve more than 100 million people.
– Story and photo from BPU