Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's so hot!

Off to the lake to beat this heat this weekend? Before you go, make sure that your local lake or reservoir does not have any current algae bloom warnings. Algae blooms are known to cause illness in humans and pets and can cause a fish die-off or “dead-zone” if they grow too large. Algae blooms occur more frequently in warm weather though no one is quite sure what triggers an algae bloom to become intense. Fertilizer runoff and other man-made chemicals seeping into waters have been thought to be one cause, heat and other natural causes such as slow moving water can be another.

To keep you and yours safe as you head to the lake, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment posts warnings of algal blooms and what to look for if you suspect the water may be a cause of a recent illness.

Check here! Current warnings for Kansas waters:

Signs that will be posted if waters have an advisory warning:

Examples of what blue-green algae blooms look like:

Illnesses you could get if you are exposed to algae blooms:

The Response Plan from KDHE for algal blooms:

Article contact: Kim Harp

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The U.S. National Debt

The United States public debt is a measure of the obligations of the United States federal government and is presented by the United States Treasury in two components and one total:

--Debt Held by the Public, representing all federal[1] securities held by institutions or individuals outside the United States Government;
--Intragovernmental Holdings, representing U.S. Treasury securities held in accounts which are administered by the United States Government, such as the OASI Trust fund administered by the Social Security Administration; and
--Total Public Debt Outstanding, which is the sum of the above components.[2]

Below are some basic links to information on the United States National Debt:

An Overview of the United States National Debt
(2011 document by Abbas P. Grammy, CSU-Bakersfield)

Frequently Asked Questions About the National Debt
(From the U.S. Dept of the Treasury)

Federal Debt: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
(U.S. Government Accountability Office. Both a website and a pdf document)

Budget of the United States Government: 2012

Citizen's Guide to the 2010 Financial Report of the United States Government
(U.S. Dept of the Treasury)

Debt and Deficits, by David Rosen
(A dated work, 1994, but a good resource for basic information on the National Debt. Examines the national debt and deficits, looks at their size and impact, and discusses various policy measures for bringing them under control)

Ten Trillion and Counting
(Public Broadcasting System)

U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt
(Borrows the money needed to operate the federal government and to account for the resulting debt. See the National Debt to the penny. The Bureau also provides a Twitter page for the Debt.)
The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It

Budget Deficit and National Debt Reduction
(C-Span Video Library. A panel of former Congressional Budget Office directors talked about federal budget deficits and the national debt)

The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
(by D. Andrew Austin, 2008, Congressional Research Service)

U.S. Dept of the Treasury Page For Kids
(Includes information on the National Debt at a level understandable for children, teens and those of us adults who have problems balancing our own checking accounts!)

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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mental Health in Kansas

One of the many tasks of the state agency, Social and Rehabilitation Services, is to "support persons with mental illness in their recovery and in living safe, healthy, successful, self-determined lives in their home and community. Services are provided at a community-based level and include medication management, out-patient therapy, case management, mental health rehabilitation, personal support, and crisis services." SRS partners with Community Mental Health Centers to provide a safety net of service to ensure that all of Kansas is covered.

Kansas Statutes Annotated (KSA) 19-4001 et. seq., and KSA 65-211 et. seq., 27 licensed Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) currently operate in the state. The primary goal of CMHCs is to provide quality care, treatment and rehabilitation to individuals with mental health problems in the least restrictive environment. These Centers have a combined staff of over 4,000 providing mental health services in every county of the state in over 120 locations. Together they form an integral part of the total mental health system in Kansas.

According to the Association for Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, the independent, locally owned centers are dedicated to fostering a quality, free standing system of services and programs for the benefit of citizens needing mental health care and treatment.
The primary goal of CMHCs is to provide quality care, treatment and rehabilitation to individuals with mental health problems in the least restrictive environment. The Centers provide services to all those needing it, regardless of economic level, age or type of illness. In Kansas, more than 97 percent of all citizens seeking public mental health care are seen at CMHCs. The remaining 3% are served through psychiatric residential treatment facilities, state hospitals, nursing or other residential care facilities, or private organizations or services.

Kansas Community mental health center directory:

Find your local community mental health center by map:

SRS provides support for peer-to-peer assistance programs called Consumer-Run Organizations in which adults support each other in the community:

Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF) in Kansas:

Alternatives to PRTF’s from Kansas Health Solutions:

Nursing facilities and residential care facilities are other pieces of the mental health conglomerate of SRS-supported organizations:

Manual for Parents of children with Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) and the SED Waiver:

Family Guide to Systems of Care for Children with Mental Health Needs (From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services):

Article contact: Kim Harp