Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Federal Stimulus Money Update

Back in February we published a KGI blog issue about the Federal Stimulus Program newly under way under the administration of President Obama. Yesterday Kansas media reported on stimulus money awarded to increase police workforces in various Kansas cities once again raising the question of just what the Federal program is and what it does.

Below are links to some of the information we supplied back in February as well as new resources available on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and current projects and programs under way. Many thanks to Kim Harp here at the State Library for the February blog issue on which this update is based.


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Full text of the Act)
(A website established and maintained by The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board – a group created to coordinate and conduct oversight of funds distributed under the Act in order to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.)

The Recovery Act Q&A
(Information from the Federal Government on the Act and projects)

Agency Sites and Information
(All Federal departments and agencies receiving Recovery Act stimulus funding must submit weekly Financial and Activity Reports detailing distribution of Recovery funds, major actions taken so far, and actions planned for the near term. To view the agencies' own Recovery Act Web sites, follow the links listed on the website linked above.)

State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Information

Where is Your Money Going?
("The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 targets investments toward key areas that will save and create good jobs immediately, while also laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth. The charts and numbers below give you an idea of where the money is going.")

("These maps represent a combination of enhanced, new, and already existing maps and are the first steps toward a more detailed mapping and graphics section that the Recovery Board is developing. Click on each map for all the information.")

The Road to Recovery
(" allows the public to follow America's recovery story and serves as the Administration’s one-stop shop for a range of content from video to blog posts to briefings and statements related to the Recovery Act. At, you can get updates from Vice President Biden and the Administration on the Recovery Act’s progress and stories from real people about how the Recovery Act is influencing their lives. ")

The Recovery Blog
(From Day to day information on Recovery Act projects)

Roadmap to Recovery
("On June 8th, 2009, the President and Vice President announced the Roadmap to Recovery – a summer initiative designed to accelerate the Administration’s recovery efforts. Ten major projects – from job creation to increasing health care access to natural park restoration – were announced. To learn more about the recovery projects happening this summer in your neighborhood, click on the link above.")

Recovery Report: 100 Days, 100 Projects
(Report from the Obama Administration on projects undertaken within the first 100 days of the Recovery Project's beginning)


Kansas American Recovery Act Website

Kansas Department of Commerce
(American Recovery Act to fund expansion of rural high-speed Internet in Kansas)

Kansas Department of Education

Kansas Department of Transportation

Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Benefits

Recovery Act Funding for Community Health Centers in Kansas

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection here)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Financial Literacy Education

There is an old curse of disputed origin which says, "May you live in interesting times."

These are indeed interesting times for many of us as we deal with shrinking pocketbooks, budgeting difficulties and financial planning headaches. Because of this, understanding the workings of personal finance, financial planning, lifestyle flexibility and locating helpful services become important tools in not just surviving, but thriving in difficult times.

Below are some online government resources that may be helpful in educating and informing all of us in weathering these "interesting times."


Thriving in Tough Times: Financial Resources
(Information provided by Kansas librarians through the State Library of Kansas)

Financial Literacy Resources
(From the Kansas State Treasurer's Office)

Financial Literacy Resources
(From the Kansas Credit Union Association)

Kansas Financial Literacy Education Law
(Statement by State Treasurer Dennis McKinney on a recently passed law on teaching financial literacy in Kansas schools)

Kansas Council on Economic Education
(The KCEE is a non-profit, business-education partnership dedicated to helping Kansas' K-12 teachers teach economics and personal finance)

KTKA and WIBW News
(Two news stories about the Kansas Financial Literacy Education Law which will require financial literacy education in Kansas schools)

( is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on can help you do it better.)

Paying for Education
(A list of resources supplied by

Responding to Life Events
(Birth, death, marriage, divorce, illness, foreclosure, job loss, re-education, etc.)

Retirement Planning
(Information on pensions, health benefits, savings, Social Security, etc.)

MyMoney for kids
(Web resources for children on finance and budgeting supplied by US government agencies)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New faces in new places

In the last few months, several public officials have left state offices to work at the federal level, leaving a few vacancies to be filled back here in Kansas. Below you'll find a rundown of who has left for Washington D.C. and the new faces that will be replacing them.

April 2009- Governor Kathleen Sebelius resigns to take a position as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Then-Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson steps up to carry out the rest of her term.
Read Governor Parkinson's biography at:

May 2009- Governor Parkinson names Troy Findley as his new Lieutenant Governor.
Read Troy Findley's biography at:
See the Governor's press release at:

June 2009- Kansas Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee was confirmed as the new Assistant U.S. Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Governor Parkinson named Martin “Marty” Kennedy as Interim Secretary for the Department on Aging.
Read Marty Kennedy's biography at:
See the Governor's press release at:
See the U.S. Department of Aging's press release at:

June 2009- Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky announces his pending resignation to serve as Kansas State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency at the USDA. Governor Parkinson appoints State Representative Joshua Svaty as Acting Secretary of the Department of Agriculture in July.
See the Governor's press release at:
See the USDA's press release at:

July 2009- Announcement by President Obama that he intends to appoint Secretary of the Kansas Department of Education Alexa Posney to the post of Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education.
See the President's press release at: and

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Here's to your health!

The Kansas Health Institute recently released a statement which indicated that Kansas ranks as the 18th fattest state, tied with Alaska. This statement reported that, "Kansas had an adult obesity rate of 27.2 percent and a child obesity rate of 31.1 percent." We're all concerned about how to best keep fit and healthy, but did you know that your Kansas government is concerned too? Various state agencies have made it their goal to promote health awareness and provide opportunities for you to get and stay in the best of health.

Governor's Office:
HealthyKansas is a State of Kansas wellness initiative built around three pillars: getting active, eating sensibly, and living tobacco-free. Look for fun incentives, recipes, and other great advice:

Kansas Department of Health and Environment:
Healthy Communities- resources for making your town a healthy one!

Healthy Kansans 2010- Health priorities and priority indicators are identified and adopted by the Kansas leaders and organizations addressing the comprehensive health continuum Final report available at:

Kansas Kids Fitness Day
- was held May 1, 2009 but will be held again!

Kansas Lean 21
- Recognizing the rapidly increasing rates of and alarming health impacts (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, etc.) from sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, representatives from more than 50 organizations and agencies across the state have formed the expanded Kansas LEAN-21 Coalition

Step Up Step Out
- a fully designed fitness curriculum available at:

Kansas Department on Aging:
STEPS program (Seniors Together Enjoy Physical Success)-an exercise program targeted for seniors over the age of 60

Other publications from this agency:

Kansas Department of Agriculture:
Ensures that the locally grown food at your local market is safe. Learn more at:

The Kansas Health Policy Authority:
Kansas Health Online- a consumer website where you'll find quality information and news about medical conditions, health insurance, and health care policy.

Publications regarding healthcare reform available at:

You can apply for Medicaid or Healthwave (state sponsored healthcare) at:

Kansas State Department of Education:
Body Venture- a touring educational exibit featuring child health and nutrition

Child Nutrition and Wellness program-provides information, resources, training and technical assistance to local agencies operating child nutrition and wellness programs.

Coordinated School Health program-an eight-component approach to help youth establish healthful behaviors and attitudes

Eat, Exercise, Excel!
program-an award-winning, multi-faceted school wellness program that focuses on improving students' nutrition and increasing their physical activity.

State Library of Kansas:
Kansas Reads to Preschoolers... About Fitness! (2009 website to be coming soon- look for further blog entries on this program)

Thriving in Tough Times- health page

Health databases available through the State Library website
(click on "explore our resources" then scroll down until you find the Health & Medical Information databases)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Drive on the Right Law, et al.

Over 140 bills passed during the 2009 Legislative Session and were signed into law. Many of these new laws go into effect today. Among the new statutes is the "Drive on the Right" law which some have found to be a bit confusing.

Below is a summary of the "Drive on the Right" law provided by the Kansas Legislative Research Department from its publication, 2009 Summary of Legislation (pages 138-139). We've also included some other links to information on "drive on the right" laws as well as a couple resources on legislative activities during the 2009 Session .

Summary of the Drive on the Right Law
"Drive on the Right"; Increases in Certain Motor Carrier Permit Fees; and Cotton Module Permits —House Sub. for SB145

House Sub. for SB145 requires vehicles to be driven in the right lane on a multi-lane road outside of a city, increases certain permit fees charged by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), and changes requirements for cotton module permits.

Specifically, the bill makes the following changes to the existing law:

● It amends existing law to require vehicles to be driven in the right lane when two lanes of traffic are going in the same direction on a highway outside of any city. It also requires vehicles on highways with three or more lanes proceeding in the same direction not to be driven in the far left lane. Exceptions apply to both cases:

● When overtaking and passing another vehicle;

● When preparing to make a proper left turn;

● As otherwise directed by official traffic-control devices; or

● As otherwise required by other provisions of law.

The provisions do not apply to authorized emergency, law enforcement, or Kansas Turnpike Authority vehicles or to KDOT vehicles used for construction or maintenance work. Law enforcement officials will be required to issue warning citations for the first full year the bill’s provisions will be in effect (until July 1, 2010).

Kansas News Media Information on the Law

Topeka Capital-Journal

Wichita Eagle

KWCH TV News (Wichita)

Other States With Keep Right Laws
(This is a sampling of a handful of states. Also keep in mind that laws can sometimes change faster than they are updated on state websites)

(A pamphlet on the state's law)



Washington State

Other Resources on Right/Left Lane Laws

Lane Courtesy
(National Motorists Association information on the importance of keeping to the right on highways)

State "Keep Right" Laws
(A comparison of state "keep right" laws compiled by John Carr, MIT)

Other Legislation of Interest Passed During the 2009 Session

2009 Summary of Legislation
(Kansas Legislative Research Department)

2009 Legislative Highlights
(Kansas Legislative Research Department)