Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chisholm and Great Western Trails

The National Park Service hosted a meeting this week in Wichita to discuss the possibility of designating the Chisholm Trail and the Great Western Cattle Trail as national historic trails.

The Chisholm and Great Western Trails were used by cowboys and ranchers in the late 1800s to drive cattle from Texas through Oklahoma to railroad heads in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. The trails passed through Dodge City, Caldwell, Wichita, Newton, Abilene and other Kansas communities and were vital economic bloodlines in developing those parts of our state.

The National Trails System provides for outdoor recreation needs, promote the enjoyment, appreciation, and preservation of open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources, and encourages public access and citizen involvement. Designating the Chisholm and Great Western Trails as part of this System might prove to be a great boost to the Kansas economy.

Below are newspaper articles, information on the public law requiring a study of developing these historic trails and general information on the trails themselves:


"Park service to host meeting about Chisholm Trail"
Wichita Eagle, June 24, 2010

"Kansas cattle trails could become historic sites"
Lawrence Journal-World, June 24, 2010

"Ceremony celebrates trail's role in shaping Dodge City's history"
Dodge City Daily Globe, June 14, 2010

U.S. PUBLIC LAW 90-543

The National Trails System Act
(P.L. 90-543, as amended through P.L. 111-11, March 30, 2009)
This is the public law which includes mention of a study of the inclusion of these two trails in the US Trail System. Check out 16 USC 1244, sec. 5(c)... (44) and (45) respectively for mention of the Chisholm and Great Western trails)

Activation Memo
P.L. 111-11, Title V, Subtitle D, Sec. 5303, Chisholm Trail & Great Western Trail
(Provides for studies of the Chisholm Trail and Great Western Trail to determine whether to add the trails to the National Trails System, and for other purposes)


The Chisholm Trail, by John Rossel

Along the Chisholm Trail


Great Western Cattle Trail

Great Western Cattle Trail Association


Forts & Trails
(Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas Historic Trails

Historic trails and roads in Kansas


National Trails System
(National Parks Service)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cherokee County Cleanup

Residents of Cherokee County, Kansas have been living with the aftereffects of over 70 years of hard lead and zinc mining in southeastern Kansas for decades. This has left the area with piles of "chat" and lead contamination. The city of Treece, Kansas has been a part of the Tar Creek Superfund Site that extends south into Oklahoma. In April the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced to Treece, Kansas residents that their homes will be bought out and they can be relocated. Last week, Treece residents listened to a hearing in nearby Picher, Oklahoma as to how that buyout will be carried out.

Read about Treece from The New York Times

Learn about the buyout from the KC Tribune

Read about the EPA's restrictions on where Treece residents may relocate from the Pittsburg Morning Sun

Learn more about the history of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) involvment in Southeast Kansas at:

Read the report about the results of a public health screening event that occurred in Treece, Kansas on September 8th and 9th, 2009:

Read the report on zinc, lead, and cadmium in Tar Creek at:

Learn about other EPA cleanup sites in Kansas at:

You can read more in print by interlibrary loaning state and federal documents from the State Library or the Kansas State Historical Society. Below are links to the online catalog for titles related to Cherokee County and the contamination:

Assessment of contaminated streambed sediment in the Kansas part of the historic Tri-State Lead and Zinc Mining District, Cherokee County, 2004 / by Larry M. Pope ; prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Reston, Va. : U.S. Geological Survey, 2005

Radioactivity surveys in the Kansas part of the tri-state zinc and lead mining district, Cherokee County, Kansas / by Robert M. Dreyer

Assessment of water resources in lead-zinc mined areas in Cherokee County, Kansas, and adjacent areas / by Timothy B. Spruill

A study of stability problems and hazard evaluation of the Kansas portion of the tri-state mining area / [James R. McCauley, Lawrence L. Brady, Frank W. Wilson]
[Washington, D.C.?] : Bureau of Mines, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, [1983]

Abandoned non-fuel mineral pits and quarries in Kansas, 1995 / authors, David A. Grisafe, Jorgina A. Ross, Douglas L. Beene

Contamination of wells completed in the Roubidoux aquifer by abandoned zinc and lead mines, Ottawa County, Oklahoma [electronic resource] / by Scott Christenson ; prepared in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board

Kansas Laws, etc
Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Board : governing statutes and regulations
[Topeka, Kan. : Kansas Corporation Commission, 1986]

Article contact: Kim Harp

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference has been in the news much of late regarding conference membership and its future. Officials from Kansas have stepped forward with statements and comments encouraging member schools to stay within the Big 12 Conference. The Kansas Board of Regents has also issued a statement supporting the current alignment of the Conference. The collegiate athletic conference, which includes both the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, was founded in 1994 and has member schools in seven states.

Below are links to information on the Conference, its current status, its history, predecessors, statements of officials from Kansas in relation to its future and some media links.

--Conference Handbook
--News releases
--Insider Blog

Big 12 Member Schools Athletic pages
Iowa State
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Texas Tech


Big 12 Conference (Wikipedia)
(A well structured overview of the athletic conference)

How the Big 12 teams rank in revenue-sharing funds
(From the ESPN website)

Former Big 8 Conference (Wikipedia)
(Its eight members joined with four other schools to form the Big 12 Conference)

Former Southwest Conference
(History from the Texas Almanac. Four of its member schools left to join the Big 12 Conference)


Governor Mark Parkinson

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts

Kansas Board of Regents


Lawmakers Lobby for Big 12
(Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas Politicians up pressure on neighbors, trying to keep Big 12 Conference together
(Lawrence Journal World)

Board Of Regents Affirms Commitment To Big 12
(KAKE TV News, Wichita)

KU Chancellor Urges NU to Stay in Big 12
(Manhattan Mercury)

Articles about the Big 12 Conference (Kansas City)
(Kansas City Star website)

Articles about the Big 12 Conference (Omaha)
(Omaha World-Herald)
("Big Red Today" section of the newspaper's website)

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The child in "the system"

Kansas is proud to be a family-oriented state. Good schools and family support are midwestern qualities to be envied. Despite this, it is an unfortunate reality that a few Kansas children are sometimes put in situations that may remove them from one or both parents and/or the homes to which they are acquainted. Other times, parents are separating and there is a dispute over custody or support. Kansas government has several services that provide quick relief and find a solution which best keeps the family intact or, if needed, provide a new, stable home for the child.

The Kansas Judicial Branch has provided the 2010 Kansas Child Support Guidelines:

Kansas courts are instructed by KSA 5-503(f) to provide mediation to come to a quick solution for the child. Mediation is a way for people in disagreement to discuss the problems involved with the help of a third party who will not take sides :

In accordance to KSA 38-1552a, Kansas courts have developed the Parent Ally Program:

Kansas has created the Office of Child Support Services (CSE) which helps children by enforcing parental responsibility to pay financial support. All Kansas families have access to CSE services, which include assistance with locating non-custodial parents, confirming paternity, establishing and enforcing child support and medical support orders, and collecting and distributing payments:

For convenience, the state has set up the Child Support Payment Center:

Sometimes child support payments are delayed by one parent or the other for various reasons. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) can help payments get back on track:

There are also Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs available. The CASA program assist in securing permanency for children who are in the child welfare system because of alleged or confirmed abuse and/or neglect. The presiding judge in such a case may appoint a CASA volunteer who is responsible for advocating the best interests of the child and assisting the child in obtaining a permanent, safe, and homelike placement. Also, CASA volunteers can be appointed to work with children in the juvenile justice system and children involved in domestic relations cases. A list of CASA programs can be found at:

SRS has several services to assist and preserve a family before a situation requires a child be removed from the home:

When a report of abuse or neglect is made to SRS, an Initial Assessment is completed to determine if SRS should become involved. If the report meets the criteria for SRS involvement, it is investigated by a social worker or special investigator. Learn more about the investigative process at:

***If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected in Kansas, please contact the Kansas Protection Report Center (PRC) at 1-800-922-5330 OR call your local law enforcement.

If a situation requires it, a child is placed in the care of SRS and a suitable foster family is found. Years ago foster care and adoption was privatized and now private agencies across the state partner with SRS to provide stable homes for children. Some of Kansas' foster care partners can be found at:

One in four children in the care of SRS live with relatives. Learn more about the Relatives as Caregivers program at:

Learn more about the Grandparents as Caregivers program at:

If you are looking to become a permanent solution for a child through adoption you can learn more about adoption assistance at:

Article contact: Kim Harp