Low-income energy assistance program to provide help with heating bills

Colder temperatures and winter weather has arrived in Kansas. The dropping temperatures and necessity of raising the thermostat are leaving some families vulnerable when it comes to covering their heating bills.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), implemented in the state by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), allows peace of mind and financial assistance to families struggling to pay their heating bills during the cold winter months.

“LIEAP has helped our Kansas communities stay warm for many years,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “It is an important and valued support program provided to families during cold Kansas winters.”

Last year, $47 million aided approximately 40,000 households in covering winter heating bills, averaging $1,180 per home.

To receive assistance, applicants must apply on the DCF website, www.dcf.ks.gov, by clicking “Apply for Services” or in person and be eligible according to the qualifications. Find a DCF service center closest to you at www.dcf.ks.gov/services/Pages/DCFOfficeLocatorMap.aspx.

The applications are available beginning Jan. 3, 2023, and must be received by 5 p.m., March 31. More information and FAQs on the LIEAP program is available at www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx.

To qualify, households must have an adult at the address that is responsible for the heating costs of the home. Applicants must be able to prove a recent history of payments on the energy bill (within the past three months), along with being at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

The one-time assistance payment is determined by household income, number of persons living at the address, type of dwelling, and type of heating fuel.

Income eligibility guidelines are as follows. Funding for LIEAP is provided by the U.-S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

  • Information from DCF

Gov. Kelly searching for new secretaries of transportation, administration and a fire marshal

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s list of second-term executive branch vacancies climbed to three with retirement of the state’s fire marshal.

Kelly, who will be sworn into office Jan. 9 following reelection in November, must replace state fire marshal Doug Jorgensen, who was among the few holdovers from the administrations of Republican Govs. Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer.

Kelly has also launched the search for individuals to nominate for Cabinet posts in the departments of transportation and administration.

She is expected to wait until January to nominate replacements for Julie Lorenz, who led the Kansas Department of Transportation, and DeAngela Burns-Wallace, who was secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration. Both appointees would be subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate.

Jorgensen, appointed fire marshal by Brownback in 2011, was at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for 28 years. He was retained when Kelly took office in 2019.

“He has worked tirelessly to protect Kansans and property from devastating fires and to support communities in times of loss,” Kelly said.

Jorgensen will retire in January, but temporarily serve as deputy fire marshal to assist with transition to his replacement. The Kansas Senate also has confirmation authority over fire marshal appointments.

Three years ago, Jorgensen raised questions about shallow investigation of fatal fires in Kansas. He told state legislators cases were “falling through the cracks.” He pointed to six fatalities — including one homicide — resulting from explosions or fires in a one-year period that hadn’t been thoroughly investigated.

In 2013, he generated controversy by proposing the fire marshal’s office resume oversight of the explosive industry in Kansas. The office lost power to issue permits in 2010 when an assistant attorney general inadvertently deleted that regulatory authority. Explosive industry representatives objected to his proposal.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving three governors as the State Fire Marshal for the last eleven years, and most importantly, supporting the state fire service and helping keep the citizens of Kansas safe,” Jorgensen said.

Kansas Reflector stories, www.kansasreflector.com, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

See more at https://kansasreflector.com/briefs/gov-kelly-searching-for-new-secretaries-of-transportation-administration-and-a-fire-marshal/

Highway patrol reports four fatal crashes over Christmas holiday

The Kansas Highway Patrol has reported four non-DUI related fatal crashes over the Christmas holiday period.

The Christmas weekend reporting period went from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, through 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26.

In that time, the highway patrol assisted 512 motorists, according to a spokesman.

According to KHP data, there were 16 DUI arrests in 2022; 416 speed citations; 388 speed warnings; 32 safety belt citations; 2 safety belt warnings; 3 safety belt teen citations; 1 safety belt teen warning; 6 child restraint citations; and 512 motorist assists.

There were 0 DUI related fatalities this year.