Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Greg Orman to appear on ballot in 2014 U.S. Senate race

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Greg Orman will join U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and a Democratic nominee in this year's United States Senate race in the State of Kansas.

Orman collected enough signatures from voters in all 105 counties to join the ballot.

More information on his campaign:
Olathe businessman and entrepreneur Greg Orman, the Independent candidate running for U.S. Senate, today announced his campaign has collected more than 10,000 signatures from voters in all 105 Kansas counties as part of the petition drive to qualify him for the general election ballot in November.

Mr. Orman made the announcement Monday morning in Topeka on the steps of the State Capitol one week ahead of the Aug. 4 deadline for submitting the ballot petitions. By law independent candidates are required to collect signatures from 5,000 registered Kansas voters to be considered for ballot access. Orman’s campaign is set to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office for official verification on Tuesday.

“Kansans are sick and tired of partisanship. They’re sick and tired of elected officials who are only interested in getting reelected and not interested in solving problems,” Mr. Orman said. “Voters know that we need pragmatic, problem-solving leadership in Washington to help the country get back on track, and this successful petition drive is more proof of the momentum our campaign is demonstrating as the only viable alternative to Pat Roberts in November.”

A KSN-TV/SurveyUSA statewide poll out last week showed that Mr. Orman had doubled support for his campaign against Sen. Pat Roberts in just four weeks since the previous KSN survey conducted in late June. Support for the party candidates either stayed flat or decreased as Orman’s climbed dramatically from seven to 14 percent.

Mr. Orman unveiled a statewide advertising campaign several weeks ago that’s now airing commercials on broadcast, cable and radio outlets in every Kansas media market.

For more information about Greg Orman and his Independent campaign for U.S. Senate, please visit the campaign online at OrmanForSenate.com.

Cerner-RSI partnership announced

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Cerner Corp., one of the leading companies in health care information technology, has partnered with RSI (Rainbow Services, Inc.), a crisis stabilization center, as a test site for Cerner’s behavioral health electronic medical record. 

RSI is a subsidiary of Wyandot Center, an agency of the Wyandot, Inc. family of organizations. RSI, located at 36th and Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kan., provides a 24/7 sobering unit, crisis observation unit and a crisis stabilization unit for persons experiencing mental health and/or substance abuse crises.

Karen Suddath, chief operations officer, Wyandot, Inc., says that the organization transitioned to Cerner Community Behavioral Health as its new electronic medical record for mental health services in 2013.  RSI opened in April 2014.

Based on RSI’s need for a 24/7 behavioral health IT solution, Cerner agreed to contribute software/licensing/upgrades to this major initiative.

“This  important partnership allows Wyandot/RSI and Cerner to learn from the crisis center IT experience to better understand, develop and test information management tools, which will ultimately help Wyandot deliver care to those struggling to access the assistance they need,” says  Melinda Wagner, general manager of behavioral health at Cerner.

Monday, July 28, 2014

New York Times/CBS Poll: Brownback up by double figures

By NICK SLOAN, nick@kansascitykansan.com

Right now in the Kansas Governor's Race, it's a tale of two polls.

A poll released last week by SurveyUSA indicated that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis was up by 8 points.

Over the weekend, a poll released by The New York Times and CBS shows that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has a commanding 12-point advantage.

When including voters who are leaning one way or another, Brownback leads 52-40 percent.

In the New York Times/CBS poll, Brownback has a significant advantage over Davis in most demographics.

He leads by 14 points among senior citizens, a contrast with the SurveyUSA poll released last week.

Previous polls showed that Davis had the support of over 20 percent of the state's Republicans.

However, according to this newest poll, only eight percent of Republicans said they support Davis.

The poll also found good news for one of the state's other top Republicans - U.S. Senator Pat Roberts.

Roberts leads 40-31 over Democrat Chad Taylor. When including "leaners" in the results, Roberts' lead grows to 53-37 percent.

GUEST COMMENTARY: We Need Your Help Today to Close the Digital Divide in Kansas City

Publisher's Note: Below is a guest commentary about the digital divide in Kansas City. This is an important issue in Wyandotte County and I feel its message needs a platform. 

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- At Connecting for Good, our core belief is that connectivity equals opportunity.

Access to the Internet brings with it a chance to apply for jobs online, connections with family and friends, access to virtual library shelves, information about medical and health issues, online education – GED completion and college courses – and a whole lot more.

These are resources with the potential to help an under resourced family move toward a healthier, happier and more secure future.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of low income families in our city who are not able to get online.  Mostly it's because they can't afford a computer or Internet service.  For many, especially older adults, it's a matter of intimidation - simply not knowing how get online or how use the Internet.

That's why we have been working to bridge the Digital Divide since 2011 with wireless networks, low cost refurbished PCs and free digital life skills classes.

In the Kansas City metro area, we operate two community technology centers, one on each side of the Kansas/Missouri state line. To extend our outreach, we take our mobile  computer training lab to sites all over the the city.  Our goal is to see that everyone who wants to get online can, regardless of their age, income or disability.

We work to lower the entry point to becoming a productive participant in the online world.Inthe past year, nearly 1,500 people in under served inner city neighborhoods participated in our free digital life skills classes.

Everyone who completes the sessions learns to set up an email account and to use Internet search engines to find the information they need online.  Those who qualify as low income can then get a high quality refurbished PC for as low as $50.00.

We also help people find an affordable Internet service provider. And, we actually provide a free in-home Wi-Fi connection to about 500 households In three low income housing facilities.

Learning these basic technology skills and getting an inexpensive PC truly changed the life of a young woman named Sarah. She was a 23 year old single mother who was living on public assistance with two children when we first met her. Knowing she wasn’t providing for her children, she struggled with self-esteem and hopelessness.

With minimal education, no marketable job skills or computer knowledge she was going nowhere fast. Over a period of several months, this young lady attended our basic classes and learned how to use a computer for the first time.

Because of her limited income, it took Sarah four months to pay for her $50 refurbished computer. She did it by taking on odd jobs to earn the money. During this time, we provided her with one-on-one assistance to learn how to apply for jobs and to develop a top notch resume. She also asked for our help with interviewing skills and choosing appropriate attire.

The good news is that she did get an office job and then a promotion within six months of being hired. Besides moving from public assistance to a career, Sarah also completed her GED and is taking college courses on line. All of this happened within the span of just nine months!

Here's a little more information about who we are reaching:

  • 25% have never used a computer
  • 75% are over 50 years old
  • 80% are minorities, predominantly African American
  • 75% have incomes of under $20,000 a year
  • 90% purchased a computer from us after their taking free classes
  • 2/3 of participants in the free classes are women
  • 1/2 of women 60+ have a child under 18 living with them

To keep providing these services, Connecting for Good needs your help now to keep our staff members working in the community!

We are in the midst of a summer cash flow crunch and need 100 friends to donate $50 to help us through this challenging time.

Won't you take a few moments to get involved and share about our efforts with your friends?

Together, we can keep changing lives in Kansas City's urban core by lowing the barriers to becoming a productive digital citizen.

For more information, visit Connecting for Good's fundraising page here.

KCK abortion clinic announces closing

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- A Kansas City, Kan., abortion clinic announced over the weekend that it is closing.

Central Family Medical, also known as Aid For Women, announced on it's Website that it closed its facility.

According to the site, both the owner of the manager of the clinic and the doctor have decided to retire. The site recommended patients to visit three area abortion clinics for future services. 

Below is Central Family Medical's statement: 
We closed our doors July 26, 2014 and are referring our abortion-seeking patients (you) to the remaining abortion clinics. I am sorry for the trouble this may cause you. The Clinic Manager and Physician have both decided to retire. For those who have been our Patient before, we Thank you for showing your trust in us and will miss you and your heart-felt stories of family hardships.

Wyandotte County Traffic: Gibbs Road Over I-635 traffic alert for weekend of August 1-3 in Wyandotte County

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The following lane and ramp closures are scheduled for the setting of bridge girders for the new Gibbs Road Bridge over I-635 for the weekend of August 1-3 in Kansas City, KS (Wyandotte County).

Southbound I-635 lane closures will take place between I-70 and Shawnee Drive on Friday night and between Speaker Road and Merriam Lane on Saturday night.

Northbound I-635 lane closures will take place between Speaker Road (on the north end) to Merriam Lane (on the south end) both nights.

Friday, August 1 – REOPENS at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 2:
7 p.m. – Northbound and southbound I-635 will be reduced to TWO OPEN lanes
9 p.m. – Northbound and southbound I-635 will be reduced to ONE OPEN lane
10 p.m. – Ramps from I-70 to southbound I-635 CLOSED
– Ramps from K-32 to southbound I-635 CLOSED
– Ramps from Metropolitan Avenue to southbound I-635 CLOSED
– FULL CLOSURE OVERNIGHT of Southbound I-635 at K-32

Ramps from eastbound and westbound I-70 to I-635 and from K-32 to southbound I-635 will be closed. Traffic will follow a marked detour to 18th Street Expressway.

Saturday, August 2 – REOPENS at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 3:
7 p.m. – Northbound and southbound I-635 will be reduced to TWO OPEN lanes
9 p.m. – Northbound and southbound I-635 will be reduced to ONE OPEN lane
10 p.m. – Ramps from northbound and southbound I-35 to northbound I-635 CLOSED
            – Ramps from Shawnee Drive to northbound I-635 CLOSED
There will be intermittent slowdown on northbound I-635 and on the Merriam Lane to northbound I-635 ramp to allow for bridge girder placement.

There are five different girder sections, so there will be five times that these traffic slowdowns will occur.

Ramps from northbound and southbound I-35 to I-635 will be closed. Traffic will detour via I-35 to 18th Street Expressway to I-70.

There will be rolling roadblocks for northbound I-635 traffic throughout the overnight hours to allow for the placement of the bridge girders.

KCKCC’s Henry M. Louis Center hosts international visitors

Photo by Gene Hernandez

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Henry M. Louis Center for Global Transitional Justice, along with Gene and Karen Hernandez, recently hosted three international visitors sponsored by the State Department.

This is the first time that the Henry M. Louis Center has teamed up with the Hernandez family, which hosts this event regularly. During the hospitality visit, Dr. Ewa Unoke, Director of the Henry M. Louis Center, moderated a friendly discussion to share information on the visitors’ countries.

Tomomi Nishi from Japan spoke on the controversy over the U.S. military base at Okinawa. The debate over the military base has polarized the Japanese society.

While some citizens want the base to remain open because it creates great employment opportunities for many Japanese citizens, the anti-American group argues that the base is an affront on the sovereignty of the state.

Jean Carlo Huaroc Portocarrero from Peru, a social justice advocate and lawyer, discussed the issues of democracy and transitional justice in Peru. After two decades of armed conflict in the country, it is beginning to consolidate its democratic experiment.

After revisiting its past, Peru established a truth commission, national reparations plan and the trial of the former president, Alberto Fujimori. The most critical issue now concerns the slow implementation of the reparation plans to victims, such as health care, education and monetary compensation of the victims.

Melanie Chiponda from Zimbabwe, has led several peace protests to demand the rights of rural women under the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

She mobilized her fellow women activists to seek compensation when the Robert Mugabe-led government evicted the rural women from their land. When the government continued to arrest rural people for poaching on fish in the riverine area, Melanie organized the rural women to register and to obtain fishing permits for the rural people.  Through her campaigns, the government has built new homes and relocated the displaced rural citizens.

Unoke said the three visitors had great learning experiences in the United States since they began their journey from Washington D.C. He said they traveled to many other states in addition to Kansas including Texas and Missouri. The trip was organized by the Kansas City International Visitors Council.

For more information on the Henry M. Louis Center for Global Transitional Justice, contact Ewa Unoke at eunoke@kckcc.edu or by calling 913-288-7119.