Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to find out more information on judges in your area

Kansas government has given you a new tool to help you become an informed voter. There is a new website from the Kansas Judicial Branch that offers you the voter a way to learn more about the judges who may be on your ballot for retention in your district.

Go to and input your county to find out the names of judges in your area and to obtain their "report card." The report cards were developed by the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance.

To find out more about district courts in Kansas and how judges are selected go to and click on "You and the Courts of Kansas." You can find a map of the court districts here.

Click here to read the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Click here to find out which judges may up for retention in your district. You will need to scroll to the bottom of the list.

To learn more about the Kansas Supreme Court Justices, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Making the Grade

Did you know that the Kansas State Department of Education provides an annual report card on the state of education? Statistics are available on schools statewide, by district and even down to individual schools (i.e. "building").

You can check on school/district population, racial and ethnic breakdown, student economic status, percentage of students with disabilities, gender and English language learners.
Information is available on performance of various groups' testing results in science, history/geography, writing, math and reading abilities. Information is also provided on many of the private schools in Kansas as well.

Attendance, graduation and dropout rates are on the site as well as information on school performance within the federal government "No Child Left Behind" program.
Check out the 2007-2008 Kansas Report Card at:

District and school breakdowns can be found by clicking on the "School/District" link at the middle top of the main page under the logo title.

Links to previous years' reports are found in the left column menu bar as are demographics and definitions. The online service also allows users the opportunity to work the stats for custom reports:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Voting in Kansas

A high voter turnout is expected on November 4th as Kansas citizens' button pressing fingers are itching. This has many Kansans asking, where do I vote and who’s on my ballot? Follow these steps to find out who you will see on your November ballot:

Step 1. To find your district for Congressional leaders, State Board of Education, and state officials go to . Type in your address and your current elected officials will pop up as well as your districts.

Step 2. Once you know your districts you can find out who is running for your districts at the Secretary of State’s candidate list available here:

You may also be interested in the presidential and vice-presidential write-in candidate list available:

Step 3. To find out where you need to go to vote, contact your county election office. A list of offices and their phone numbers is available from the Secretary of State’s website at:

Another way is to access your personal voter registration information. This will name your polling site. You can find that at

Step 4. Be sure to mark November 4th on your calendar! If you would like to vote in advance, follow the steps provided at

*For more information on registering to vote and advanced voting go to

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The end of October traditionally signals harvest festivals and Halloween. As you join in the festivities and accompany or greet young trick-or-treaters here are some helpful links on safety, events, crafts and history.


Safe Kids Kansas Provides Halloween Safety Tips
(Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

Halloween Safety
(Office of the Governor)

Enjoy Halloween Candy, But Skip Tummy Aches
(Kansas State University Research and Extension)

Safety Tips for Halloween
(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)


Neewolah Festival
(The Neewollah Festival (Halloween spelled backwards) began in 1919 as an effort to provide positive activities for kids of all ages in place of the typical Halloween pranks that occurred in the community of Independence, Kansas, and has grown into the largest annual festival in the Kansas.)

Trick or Treat at the "Booseum"
(Events at the Kansas State Historical Society Museum of History on October 31st)

Search for Kansas Events
(Kansas Travel and Tourism)


"Happy Halloween Fact"
(Check out the Kansas Fact of the Month at the Kansas State Data Center)

Haunted Kansas
(Homes and haunts of the otherworldly in the Sunflower State)

Happy Halloween from the Library of Congress!

The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
(The American Folklife Center)

Halloween Information
(Provided by

"Happy Halloween Fact"
(Check out the Kansas Fact of the Month at the Kansas State Data Center)

Spooky Astronomy
Spooky Space Sounds
(U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA)

The Kansas Halloween Flood of 1998

The Halloween Flood of 1998
(KSN network)


Wax Halloween Pumpkins to Make Them Last
(Kansas State University Research and Extension)

Halloweeen Fare that won't Scare Your Arteries
(Recipes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

Pumpkin Recipes
(U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kansas Economics

Kansans are feeling the pinch due to recent events in the nation’s economy. Below are some of the tools that our lawmakers use to predict events and write laws pertaining to Kansas’ labor market and economy:

Kansas, Inc.: Kansas, Inc. provides a respected forum for business and industry, local leaders, and state executive and legislative officials to debate issues directly with one another

KTEC: The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC) is a private/public partnership established by the state of Kansas to promote technology based economic development.

Kansas Economy at a Glance- developed by the U.S. Department of Labor

2008 Kansas Economic Report- developed by the Kansas Department of Labor

Economic Development Report- developed by the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit

Kansas Labor Market Information- developed by the Kansas Department of Labor

2008 Kansas Wage Survey- developed by the Kansas Department of Labor

Kansas Economic Incentives from the Kansas Department of Commerce

Employment and Economy Statistics from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Business Development

2007-2008 Data Book from the Kansas Department of Commerce

The Governor's Economic and Demographic Report

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

T-LINK: Getting us from here to there

Government is at its best when it is a participatory process. Often opportunites arise for participating in this process and we let them slip by only to complain later about decisions and plans that we might have influenced by stepping foward and sharing our thoughts.

T-LINK is an effort by the state of Kansas to plan its transportation future. At a time when public and private funds are in a flux it's vital to set out what's important in providing services that help us all get from "here to there" safely. It is also essential that we keep the flow of business, agriculture and industry moving smoothly and provide affordable transit for those who might otherwise not be able to get about on their own.

Listed below are links to information on our state's efforts in developing a viable path toward a future that will guarantee the movement of goods and people across Kansas. Public meetings were held across the state in September but there is still time to share your thoughts. Read through the information provided and make your voice heard.


T-LINK Website

Governor Sebelius Creates the Task Force

Governor Sebelius' Charge to T-LINK Task Force

Public Meetings Held Around the State in September
(These links include meeting materials, summaries, public reactions, and options to leave feedback)
Ulysses, September 11
Hays, September 12
Abilene, September 18
Topeka, September 19
Olathe, September 22
Hutchinson, September 23
Pittsburg, September 26
Wichita, September 30

The Kansas T-LINK Calculator
Try out the Kansas T-LINK Calculartor, an interactive tool that allows you to create your own theoretical Kansas transportation program. You can develop your budget by making assumptions about current funding sources and choosing from a variety of potential new funding options by making changes to the "Revenues" tab. Then you can allocate funding on a variety of transportation modes on the "Local Roads", "Modes", and "State Highways" tabs.

Contact the T-LINK Task Force!
(Share your thoughts and concerns)


Kansas Department of Transportation
---Rail and Freight
---Public Transportation
---Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

Kansas Turnpike Authority

U.S. Department of Transportation

Transportation Equity Act (2005)

Aviation Links Provided by the City of Wichita

Kansas Transit Links
(Provided by the American Public Transportation Association)

Railroad Service in Kansas
(Association of American Railroads)

(The official website of the trucking industry in Kansas)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Emancipation in Kansas

(This blog article was updated March 1, 2012)

is the process by which a minor can petition the district court of the county in which they live for emancipation. A person must be at least 16 years old to petition and be a resident of his or her county for one year. The minor petitioning must be able to give the reason that they are seeking emancipation. In open court the minor seeking emancipation must be able to prove sound mind and an ability to conduct their own affairs.

Should these requirements be met the court may decree that the petitioner be empowered to exercise the rights of majority that are covered by statute (38-108). These include the rights to contracts, real and personal property, to purchase, and control in their own person any goods that they have lawfully acquired or inherited, as well as to right to sue and be sued.

On Your Own
Useful pamphlet for things to think about before starting the emancipation procedure
(Kansas Bar Association)

For the Record: A guide to your rights and responsibilities as a young adult
(Kansas Bar Association)

Laws applicable to minors

Johnson County information on emancipation
(From frequently asked questions page at JoCoGov)

Emancipation of Minors
(Pamphlet from Kansas Legal Services)

Statutes that address emancipation:
K.S.A 38-101, 38-108, 38-109, 60-1610
You can find the full text of these statutes at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recycling Resources

Recycling is a positive way to impact your community and the world. Recycling and purchasing recycled material benefits the environment and recycling also creates jobs. Check out the links below, provided by federal, state, local and private sources for more information:

Recycling (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
---Recycling old computers
---Create your own compost pile
---Consumer tips
---Consejos para Consumidores
---Municipal Solid Waste in the United States
---Recycling Publications
---Buy Recycled
---Common Wastes and Materials
---Recycling Market Development

Get Caught Recycling!
(The Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

Kansas Green Teams
(The Green Team program was created as a way for you to make a difference by incorporating environmentally responsible practices into your daily routine at work and at school.)

Kansas Don't Spoil it!
(Sponsored by the Kansas Bureau of Waste Management. Kansas is a clean state, and we want to keep it that way. We began the KDSI campaign, an awareness and education program, to encourage Kansans to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and keep their state in a beautiful condition. We aim to keep the Kansas environment top-of-mind so that every Kansan will do what's needed to "keep it clean" to minimize the amount of waste entering the environment.)

Kansas Recycles

Why recycle?
(Shawnee County Recycling, Kansas)

Find a Kansas Recycling Program
(Provided by the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment)

Kansas Organization of Recyclers
(The Kansas Organization of Recyclers is a non-profit, membership based network of representatives from government, industry, non-profit and public entities and individuals that support environmental stewardship through waste reduction, composting, reuse, recycling, and
sustainable efforts in Kansas.)

Find a recycling center near you
(Type in your zip code and see what's nearby you)


Glass Recycling: Just How Clear Is It? (1995)
Green Confusion (1995)
Leaf Recycling (1995)
Recycling Grass Clippings (2001)
Resources for Recycling (1991)
Tips for Home and Yard (1998)
Using Wood Chips for Mulch (2006)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to Find Your Congressperson

Are you a concerned Kansan wanting to get involved in congressional events, but are afraid to speak out because you are unsure of who you can talk to?

Well, worry no more!

These links take you to sites sponsored by your Kansas government that will help you get in contact with Kansas' two senators and four representatives in Washington, D.C.

Congressional District Profiles from Kansas Legislative Research

Kansas Congressional Districts by County from Kansas Legislative Research

Kansas Congressional Districts by City from Kansas Legislative Research

Find your legislators by address or by map from KU Institute of Policy & Social Research

Kansas State and Federal Officers contact list from the Kansas Secretary of State

The Kansas Legislative Hotline can give you congressional contacts over the phone:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Home Heating and Energy Conservation

With October come the winds of change in Kansas. The days are shorter and the temperature begins to drop. At a time when energy costs continue to skyrocket it's important to find ways to conserve the use of energy at home and work. It is also a good thing to be aware of services to those who cannot keep up with high energy bills.

Below are links to information to help you cut back on home energy use and connections to agencies and groups that can assist those in need:


Kansas State University Extension
(You can find answers to frequently asked questions, publications, and an extensive list of other Web resources in their link library to help answer your home energy questions.)

Winter Storm Preparation Tips
(Provided by NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, Wichita, Kansas)

10 Ways to Increase Home Energy Efficiency
(Provided by Kansas Lieutenant Governor, Mark Parkinson)

Conserving Energy
(Information from Governor Kathleen Sebelius)
(Includes a list of Kansas energy providers, Conservation Tips, Ways to Help and a Media Center)

Home Energy Checklist for Action
(Provided by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)


Cold Weather Rule
(The Kansas Corporation Commission established the Cold Weather Rule in 1983 to protect human health and safety and to insure that Kansans have residential electric and gas services they need during the winter. The Cold Weather Rule is effective from November 1 through March 31.)

Kansas Low Income Energy Assistance Program
(The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a federally funded program. It helps eligible households pay a portion of their home energy costs by providing a one-time per year benefit.)

Weatherization Assistance Program
(The Weatherization Assistance Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, provides housing improvements that increase energy efficiency in income-eligible, single- or multi-family dwellings, including manufactured homes. Found on the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation website)

Energy Assistance Agencies
(A list of agencies around the state that may be able to help. Due to limited funds some may not be able to be of assistance. Provided by the Kansas Gas Service corporation)