Bitterly cold wind chills in forecast

Predicted wind chills for Monday. (National Weather Service graphic)
Predicted wind chills for Monday. (National Weather Service graphic)

A much colder air mass has once again moved into the region today, bringing very cold actual temperatures to the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Bitterly cold wind chills can be expected tonight, according to forecasters.

In Wyandotte County, wind chill values of between minus 1 and minus 8 are expected tonight, and the low will be 4, according to the weather service.

Monday, the weather service said the high will be near 20. Wind chill values will be between minus 8 and 2.

Frostbite and hypothermia may occur if precautions are not taken, according to the weather service.

Light snow is possible on Wednesday night, the weather service said. Specific amounts are uncertain, but it looks like a widespread light snow with modest amounts, according to the weather service.

Chance of light snow Wednesday night. (National Weather Service graphic)
Chance of light snow Wednesday night. (National Weather Service graphic)

Community calendar

The Wyandotte Daily News is interested in news of your community event in Wyandotte County. Send information to news@wyandottepublishing.com and include your name and phone number. Please send in planned events by about a week before the event if possible. In the event of inclement weather, call the sponsoring organization to see if the event will be held.

Wyandotte County Museum features World War I exhibit
The Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum, 635 N. 126th, Bonner Springs, Kan., will feature a historical exhibit about the local effect of World War I, “Local Poppies: Centennial of World War I.” The exhibit will include information Wyandotte County service members, war memorabilia, propaganda posters and local memorials from Wyandotte County. This exhibit will be on display through March 20. For more information about the days and hours it is open, call 913-721-1078 or visit www.wycomuseum.org.

Project Feederwatch continues
Project Feederwatch continues at the Schlagle Environmental Library at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road. The bird count is planned each Saturday when people sign up in advance. For more information, call 913-299-2384.

Support group for caregivers offered
A support group for caregivers is offered from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays at Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave. Kansas City, Kan. The facilitator is Jackie Tigges, MSW, LSCSW. Caring for a loved one who is ill or dying may be difficult and it helps to be supported by others. Call 913-906-8990 to register.

Support group for those with addictions offered

All Addictions Group, a support group for women dealing with any kind of addiction, at any stage of recovery, meets from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday evenings at Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan. Call 913-906-8990 or register on-line at www.keelerwomenscenter.org.

State of the UG address planned Feb. 24
Mayor Mark Holland plans to give the State of the Government address at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Reardon Center, 5th and Minnesota, Kansas City, Kan. The event is during a luncheon sponsored by the Downtown KCK Rotary Club. Tickets are $24 and are available at kcksotg.brownpapertickets.com. The deadline to purchase tickets is Feb. 17. For more information, call the mayor’s office at 913-573-5010 or contact MayorHolland@wycokck.org.

KCK school board to meet Feb. 24
The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N. 59th. The meeting is open to the public. An agenda may be posted online at www.kckps.org before the meeting.

Armourdale candidate forum to be Wednesday, Feb. 25
The Armourdale Renewal Association will hold a candidate forum from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Armourdale Recreation Center, 730 Osage, Kansas City, Kan. Candidates must call in advance to the executive director to register at 913-371-5696. The Armourdale candidate forum is open to all candidates who are on the ballot. There are the same time limits and rules against debating and opponent bashing that have always been in place at Armourdale candidate forums. It is a Neighborhood Business Revitalization organization forum. In the event of inclement weather, call the organization in advance or check the organization’s website to see if the event will still be held. Advance voting by mail and in person has begun. For all the details on advance voting, visit the election office website at www.wycovotes.org/. For more information, see the election office’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wyandotteelection.

Center City AARP to meet Feb. 26
A chair and walking exercise training session presented by Esco and Bennie Hollins will precede the business part of the Center City Chapter AARP No. 1544 regular meeting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Pat Hanlon Center, 11th and Ridge, Kansas City, Kan. Calendar projections as well as annual memberships are also due for renewal; a current national AARP membership number is required to join or renew chapter membership. New and potential members are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be potluck. Evelyn Welton is president of Center City AARP Chapter No. 1544.

UG Commission to meet Feb. 26
The Unified Government Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan. Planning and zoning items are expected to be on the agenda. The agenda may be posted a few days in advance of the meeting at www.wycokck.org.

Blood drive scheduled Feb. 27
A Community Blood Center blood drive is scheduled from 7:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Turner High School commons area, 2211 S. 55th St., Kansas City, Kan. For more information, call 816-753-4040 or visit www.savealifenow.org.

Human trafficking forum scheduled Feb. 27 in KCK
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has scheduled a human trafficking forum in Kansas City, Kan. Forums on human trafficking are planned for seven cities across Kansas, according to the attorney general’s office. The purpose of the forums is to discuss ways to build awareness and capacity in local communities for prevention, intervention and restorative care for victims of human trafficking, the spokesman said. The Kansas City, Kan., forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Feb. 27, at the Urban Scholastic Center, 2900 Minnesota Ave.

Dinner, auction planned Feb. 27 to raise funds for school
Christ the King Catholic School, Kansas City, Kan., is planning its 12th annual auction and dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at the George Meyn Community Center, Wyandotte County Park, 126th and State Avenue, Bonner Springs. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. followed by the live auction at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person. For more information, call 913-406-4505.

HALO ArtReach Auction planned Feb. 27
The 10th annual HALO ArtReach Auction and 10th birthday bash benefiting at-risk youth will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://haloworldwide.org/kc-artreach-auction/.

Piper High School auction to be Feb. 28
The 11th annual Piper High School auction and dinner is scheduled for Feb. 28 at the George Meyn Center, Wyandotte County Park, 126th and State Avenue, Bonner Springs. Doors open and live entertainment begins with a sock hop theme and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. A buffet dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. The live auction begins at 8 p.m. Funds raised by the auction and additional monetary donations will help offset unbudgeted expenses of school-related activities. Tickets are $30 per person, and are available through Feb. 24 by visiting http://phs.piperschools.com/?PageName=’OrganizationPage’&OrganizationID=’32727.

Black History Month event planned March 1 by Friends of Yates
The Friends of Yates Inc. plan the 35th annual Black Men and Women of Distinction celebration at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Yates Center, 1418 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Kan. The accomplishments of several influential African-American leaders in the community will be celebrated at this event. This event is open to the public. For information about tickets and sponsorships, call 913-321-1566.

Book sale to be March 3, 4 and 5
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s upcoming My Shelf To Yours Book Sale will be March 3, 4 and 5. The sale raises funds for students on campus. The sale is from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 3 and 5 in Room 2325 on the lower level of the Jewell Building on the KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave. It will also be open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 4. The sale is open to the public as well as students, staff and faculty. All books will be $1 or seven books for $5. Proceeds will be placed into a student scholarship fund for textbooks and tuition for those in financial need. In addition, there will also be beverages and snacks for sale as well as fashion jewelry and other local vendors.

I/DD Provider Fair to be held March 3
An Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Fair will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. March 3 at the South Library, 3104 Strong Ave., Kansas City, Kan. The event is for anyone interested in meeting Wyandotte County I/DD providers and learning about services. It is sponsored by the Council of Community Members, a volunteer committee. Representatives from Amerigroup, Sunflower and United Health Care will be on hand. For more information, email WCDDO@wycokck.org or call 913-573-5502.

BPU meetings scheduled
The Board of Public Utilities meetings are usually held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. at the board offices at 540 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, Kan. Check the BPU website at www.bpu.com or call 913-573-9024 to confirm meeting dates.

UG Ethics Commission to meet March 5

The Unified Government Ethics Commission will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 5. The meeting will be on the second floor of the Wyandotte County Courthouse, Division 18, in the old county commissioners’ chambers, 710 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan.

Chamber plans annual meeting March 6
The Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce plans its annual meeting at 11 a.m. March 6 at the Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan. The guest speaker will be Cathy Clegg, vice president, North American manufacturing, General Motors. For more information, call 913-371-3070.

Marble Crazy planned March 6-7
The 15th annual Marble Crazy, a contemporary art glass marble show, will be March 6 and 7. The event is based at the Moon Marble Co. store, 600 E. Front St., (west of Highway 7 on K-32), Bonner Springs. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7. Visitors to the free event will be able to see about 20 artists in glassblowing and furnace working. For information, visit www.marblecrazy.com.

Opening day of fishing to be March 7
The opening day of fishing is scheduled at 6 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at Wyandotte County Lake, 91st and Leavenworth Road, and at Pierson Park, 1800 S. 55th. Wyandotte County Lake will be stocked with rainbow trout and channel catfish. Pierson will be stocked with channel catfish. A Unified Government fishing permit and a Kansas fishing license is required for Kansas residents age 16 and older or 64 and younger. All non-residents 16 and older are required to have the permit and the Kansas license. Permits and licenses may be purchased at Walmart on Parallel Parkway and Bonner Springs, and at Cabela’s and Minnesota Bait. In the event of ice, the opening day may be delayed. Call 913-573-8327 to check lake ice conditions on opening day.

Lecture to discuss intermingling of theology and popular literature
Donnelly College will hold “Donnelly Talks,” an evening of thought-provoking conversation, on Wednesday, March 11. The lecture led by Monsignor Stuart Swetland, Donnelly president, and Melissa Lenos, a faculty member, will focus on pop culture in a theological setting. Titled, “From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games: Theological Perspectives on Popular Young Adult Literature,” the discussion is open to Donnelly students, faculty, staff and the public. Donnelly Talks is free and open to the public, and will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Space is limited and reservations are required. Reservations may be made to Craig Doty, annual fund manager, at cdoty@donnelly.edu.

Armourdale Irish luncheon planned March 13
The Armourdale Irish Luncheon is sponsoring an Irish luncheon at noon Friday, March 13, at the Armourdale Recreation Center, 730 Osage Ave., in Kansas City, Kan. A buffet with an array of food will be offered for $10 per person, or $5 for senior citizens. The guest speakers will be Kathy Quinn from Fox4 News and 2nd District Unified Government Commissioner Brian McKiernan. Other special guests will be Monsignor Michael Mullen and Carol Watson. For ticket information, call 913-371-5696. Proceeds go toward the Armourdale Summer Recreation Program.

Severe weather seminar planned March 18
A severe weather seminar is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at Kansas City Kansas Community College Performing Arts Center, 7250 State Ave. The seminar will feature Andy Bailey, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Pleasant Hill, Mo. The seminar is free and open to the public.

Counseling offered

Keeler Women’s Center, a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan., offers individual and couples counseling to women and men who might otherwise not be able to afford counseling. Nothing is billed. Donations are accepted. Call 913-906-8990 for information or to do an intake and schedule an appointment.

Democrats chafe at flood of conservative legislation

Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., talked at the Wyandotte County Third Saturday Democratic Breakfast  about a flood of conservative legislation this year in the Kansas Legislature. (Staff photo)
Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., talked at the Wyandotte County Third Saturday Democratic Breakfast about a flood of conservative legislation this year in the Kansas Legislature. (Staff photo)

A difficult year for Democrats in Kansas, according to legislator

by Mary Rupert
State legislators described their frustrations with the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature at today’s Wyandotte County Third Saturday Democratic Breakfast.

State Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., reported that with a small number of Democrats in the Legislature, there isn’t as much bipartisan work going on currently as there was in the 1990s – not as much “talk across the aisle.”

She said those who are in power believe that they were elected to carry out conservative legislation. Some of these areas they have focused on include fewer rights for labor, looser laws concerning carrying guns, and more politicizing of formerly nonpartisan municipal and school elections.

“I can’t stress to you what an onslaught there is against public education,” Sen. Pettey, a retired teacher, said. She added that the majority goal seems to be “to gut KNEA (Kansas National Education Association).”

This year, there is a bill proposed that would mandate fingerprinting of teachers every five years because “fingerprints change,” according to the bill’s proponents. Currently they are fingerprinted once, when they are licensed.

Sen. Pettey offered an amendment that was not accepted to take away the five-year renewal. She said only two other professions had to have fingerprint renewals under Kansas law, and one was those working with hazardous materials. She added the state already has a contract with a state law enforcement agency to provide information back to school districts, and that school districts are notified immediately through this contract about employees who commit a crime.

When her student pages sat in on this committee discussion, she said they didn’t think it made sense to spend $50 to have teachers re-fingerprinted when they already are fingerprinted.

Another strange bill this year would not allow people with degrees to use their titles, such as “professor,” or their degree, in certain circumstances, she said. They’ve worked hard, improved themselves, have a doctorate, have more expertise in an area than someone else, and there’s no reason to undervalue them, she said.

While there are a lot of bills introduced that are aimed at teachers, Sen. Pettey said they are 40 days out of 90 into the legislative session and she has yet to see a bill on kindergarten to 12th grade education funding. The state budget is $800,000 below zero for 2015 currently, she said.

The Senate Education Committee has been taken totally out of this school finance discussion so far, she said.

Rep. Val Winn, D-34th Dist., the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, said the House Education budget passed a bill out of committee Friday with three of the members including Rep. Winn not signing the recommendation. The bill had some numbers for finance, but did not have the block grant language, and that is not being discussed in the House Education Committee – it is being discussed somewhere else in “hidden places,” she said. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to talk about the block grant component on Monday, and it is expected to be less than current funding, Rep. Winn said.

Sen. Pettey said she is seeing some legislative trends this year, such as taking away local control from local governments.

A bill that would change school and municipal elections from spring to fall, and make them partisan elections was one example of that, according to Sen. Pettey. Local governments and school boards across the state have said they want to keep elections in the spring, as it fits in with their calendar and budgeting cycle, she said.

Currently, the elections for school boards, city and county government are nonpartisan, but a bill in the Legislature would list the candidates’ parties on the ballots.

“It’s disconcerting every single day,” Sen. Pettey said about the conservative push on changing laws and education bills.

There is currently an effort to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit and without any training, she said.

One of the bills heard this week was a change that would allow a worker of, for example, the Board of Public Utilities to carry a concealed weapon while going out on the job to various work sites in the community, such as checking a water main or working on streets, Sen. Pettey said. The employers would not have the power to tell them they couldn’t carry a gun.

Sen. Pettey said in committee, an explanation one senator gave to another senator was that the employer was not providing for the workers, and said, “well, when they have to go to these low-economic, poor areas of their community.” She said unfortunately some people have a negative image of Wyandotte County, even though its image has improved in recent years. “That doesn’t mean because you live in one part of our community it’s that much safer than in other parts,” she said.

Scott Mackey, immediate past chair of the Wyandotte County Democratic Party, asked, “Did I get this right – that you have to provide their fingerprints every five years for teachers but you don’t have to provide your fingerprints to buy a gun? Are we in the land of topsy-turvy?”

Norm Scott, the current chair of the Wyandotte County Democratic Party, said he is working on an effort to get more people registered to vote and to get out the vote.

One of the craziest bills this year in the Legislature, Sen. Pettey said, involves foster care. It would give more money to foster parents who are from a two-parent family, who are a woman and a man, who don’t drink, don’t smoke, only have sex in their own home and nowhere else, and are part of a group that meets on a weekly basis, such as a church group. There would be special training and these persons would be paid at a higher level to be foster parents, she said. They could choose to home school their children and the state would have to pay them based on the base state aid and weighting – making it a voucher bill, she said.

“We’re strapped for funds, every month the revenue is down,” she said, “and this bill, you want to know the price tag? $26 million.”

Sen. Pettey said even though the system has been working well, there is also legislation proposed to change the way Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected, an effort to do away with judicial selection by a commission mostly made up of attorneys. One of the proposals would replace this process with a governor’s appointment. In the Kansas high courts, judges have been selected by merit through a nominating commission in the past. The Legislature already has changed the Kansas Court of Appeals judge selection to a governor’s appointment in 2013.

She said the goal of changing the judicial selection process is that the governor and those in power want judges to vote the way they want them to vote, not to be independent.

“It’s not good for us citizens, it’s not good for government,” Sen. Pettey said.

The Democratic event on Saturday also included an opportunity for candidates to speak. Only Democratic candidates could speak at the event. The primary election is March 3. The breakfast was held at a meeting room at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Mackey pointed out that at the national level, a prominent Republican recently accused President Obama of not loving America. Mackey held a show of hands at the meeting, then said, “We do love America, and that’s unanimous.”