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Wyandotte Daily receives awards in journalism contest

The Wyandotte Daily received awards in the 2017 Heart of America Awards presentation June 24 at the Brio Tuscan Grille, Kansas City, Mo.

Mary Rupert won a Gold Award in general reporting for a story about “Expanding KanCare.” The contest judge wrote, “Thorough coverage (and taking photos) and well-organized and clear content.” The story can be seen at http://wyandottedaily.com/expanding-kancare-would-bring-50-million-or-more-to-wyandotte-county-advocates-say/.

In addition, Rupert received a Silver Award for a column on the news, “Window on the West,” as well as a Bronze Award in general reporting, and Silver and Bronze awards in sports reporting.

Publications and individuals entered stories and photos from 2016 in the annual awards contest, which is sponsored by the Kansas City Press Club. Entries were judged by out-of-state chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, and journalism educators from the College Media Association and Kansas Collegiate Media.

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Massive storms result in coordinated cleanup effort here

A tree was down on 90th Street south of Parallel Parkway at Providence Medical Center on Saturday morning, June 17. There were high winds in a storm that hit the area Friday night, June 16.


A tree was down on North 82nd Street, between Parallel and State Avenue, on Saturday morning, June 17, following a Friday night storm.

The Unified Government delivered a coordinated team effort after massive storms on June 16 and 17 in Wyandotte County, according to UG officials.

Matt May, UG emergency management director, said 80 mph winds were recorded in Wyandotte County that weekend – hurricane-level strength. May made his report to the UG’s Public Works and Safety Committee Monday night, June 26.

Severe tree and wind damage occurred Friday night, June 16, and also in another storm on Saturday, June 17, he said. While storm damage was throughout the county, it appeared to be worse on Friday in the north, and on Saturday in the south part of the county.

At one point, there were 13,000 Board of Public Utilities customers without power in Kansas City, Kansas, he said.

May said one area hard hit was at 83rd Terrace and Yecker, where there were about six blocks of tree limbs littering the street. It took about an hour on June 16 to get to a resident’s home in that neighborhood, he said.

May said the biggest challenge following the storm was a lot of single power outages at homes, with trees on power lines.

The Public Works Department cleared the streets, leaving at least a passageway, he said.

The UG asked residents to call the 311 telephone line if they had tree limbs that needed to be cleared. The UG coordinated pickups of tree limbs throughout Kansas City, Kansas.

Out of about 1,000 calls received at the 311 number, May said that five residents were identified as not having a way to get the debris from their yard to the curb for pickup.

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) volunteers then went out to the five residents’ homes on Saturday, June 24, and cleared four out of five, he said. In one yard, the debris was so dense, involving large trees, that it was beyond the scope of the volunteers, he added.

Anyone who still needs help clearing storm debris should call 311, May said.

Jeff Bryant, a member of the UG Public Works and Safety Committee who also serves on the BPU board, said the second storm was more damaging than the first. At one point, the BPU called in three other cities for assistance, he said.

He commended Ottawa, which sent its entire electric crew to help Kansas City, Kansas.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum said she was appreciative of all the work done by the UG and BPU personnel.

Commissioner Jane Philbrook said the storm damage was spotty, with a few homes hit here and there on a street.

There was no path to the storm, May said.

“We didn’t get a feel for how this was until working with the 311 calls,” he said.

May said cooling centers were opened on Saturday to provide a safe place for people who did not have air-conditioning.

In other action at Monday night’s Public Works and Safety meeting, the committee approved revisions to the county emergency plan concerning firefighting, search and rescue, and assessment, recovery and mitigation.

Also approved was authorization for the UG to enter into a wholesale wastewater treatment service contract with the city of Edwardsville. It was a multiple-year process, but there is finally a tentative agreement, according to UG officials.

The committee also approved an ordinance setting seat belt fines, to bring it into compliance with a new state law. The ordinance change will not contain the amount of the new fine, but will state that it is up to the judge’s order, in case the state law changes again some time later, according to a UG attorney. The fine will increase from $10 to $30. Twenty dollars of the fine will go to the state, according to a UG attorney.

The committee also approved authorization of a survey for the construction of a new Rosedale electric substation for the BPU.

Also approved was authorization for a survey to construct the UG Juvenile Center complex and parking area.

The items approved at the UG Committee level will next go to the UG Commission level for approval.

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Building repairs, electric substation, seat belt fines on UG Committee agenda tonight

The Unified Government Public Works and Safety Committee, meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, June 26, at City Hall, fifth floor conference room, will discuss items including building repairs, an electric substation and seat belt fines.

The UG Administration and Human Services Committee meeting will follow the Public Works Committee meeting in the same location.

The Public Works and Safety Committee will consider a survey and description of land necessary for the construction, maintenance, operation, use and repair of the UG Juvenile Center complex and parking area.

Also on the agenda is a resolution authorizing a survey and description of land necessary to construct, maintain, operate, use and repair the Board of Public Utilities’ Rosedale Electric Substation.

An amendment to a UG ordinance would set a new amount for the fine for violating the seat belt ordinance.

Also on the committee agenda is a resolution allowing the UG to enter into a wholesale wastewater treatment service contract with the city of Edwardsville.

In addition, there are proposed revisions to the county emergency operations plan on the agenda.

An update on the UG’s mowing initiative also is planned.

On the Administration and Human Services Committee agenda are an agreement between the UG and the city of Mission, Kansas, for zoning and building codes at 3140 S. 28th St. The property is in both cities.

Also on the UG Administration agenda are the Community Development revised 2017 and proposed 2018 budgets, annual action plan and amendments.

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