Kansas Forest Service on high alert as fire season reaches Sunflower State
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – With increased fire danger throughout Kansas, fire departments across the state are preparing their teams to be on top of their game when it comes to life-and-property-saving efforts. As February rolls into March, the Kansas Forest Service expects a high probability of grass fires.
For local fire departments, the preparation includes ensuring that they have enough manpower to combat the flames.
“We have the potential to add extra staffing on specialized vehicles so that we have enough crews out there to respond to those emergencies,” Kansas Wildland Coordinator Brian Finan explained.
Dry grassland and wind are a couple of key contributors to the to threat prompting fire departments to prepare for the days ahead. Also critically important are mitigation efforts from homeowners in their communities.
“Just be incredibly proactive and educate yourself in your community. Clear your yard debris,” said Saline County Emergency Management Deputy Director Alyssa Sanchez.
Other tips for property owners include reporting any indication of fire or smoke, cleaning gutters and clearing debris around structures.
For firefighters throughout Kansas, it’s essentially a waiting game in which they’re on standby until they’re called to fight windswept flames.
“We kind of forecast these things coming. Do we know the actual event is going to happen? No. There are still incidents that are going to rise up and we just deal with them as they present themselves,” said Kansas Forest Service Assistant Fire Management Officer Dennis Carlson.
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As Black History month ends, Wichita Democrat condemns racism in Kansas Statehouse – Kansas Reflector
TOPEKA — Rep. Ford Carr feels unseen.
The Wichita Democrat, who is one of eight Black lawmakers in the 165-member majority-white, majority-Republican Legislature, shared a letter on social media in which he vents frustration with bills he believes are harmful to Black communities. He is also critical of some of his colleagues’ actions.
“Racism in the Kansas Legislature is subtle but powerful,” Carr wrote. “They don’t even have to see us or acknowledge us. Our issues and positions are largely overlooked.”
“A racist ideology seems to be engrained in the foundation of most members of our Republican party,” Carr added.
This isn’t the first time Carr has spoken out about racist policies.
Last April, Carr made a speech that called out vote trading, using slavery terms to describe Kansas City Democrat Rep. Marvin Robinson, who broke from party lines on several key issues. Robinson’s vote allowed Republicans to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a transgender athlete ban for K-12 schools and colleges, turning the legislation into law. In exchange, Republicans allocated funding in the state budget for a special project that Robinson wanted.
“I would never trade my vote so that those people in my neighborhood, my constituents that I support, would never have the opportunity to look at me and think that I might be one of those ‘house negroes,’ ” Carr said at the time, distinguishing between slaves who worked in the field and those who worked indoors.
Republican legislative leaders admonished Carr for indecorous behavior.
Carr posted a letter, dated Feb. 25, to social media in which he addresses “racist legislation” in light of Black History Month.
He is concerned about House Bill 2583, which would increase jail time and fines for people who injure or kill police dogs and horses and attempt to flee police. Carr referenced the historical use of police dogs to harm people fighting for equality during the Civil Rights movement.
Senate Bill 36 would prohibit hairstyle discrimination in the workplace for styles such as braids, locs and twists. The bill fizzled in committee following a January hearing.
With medical marijuana legislation also up for debate, bills dictating licenses for plant growth and distribution should include provisions for minority-owned businesses, Carr added.
Carr also accused House leadership of retaliating against him by denying him an intern. Carr said he was told he could not have an intern because of concerns that were posed to leadership, but that he was never told what these concerns were.
The spokeswoman for House leadership didn’t respond to inquiries for this story, and a spokesman for Senate leadership declined to comment.
Carr referenced an occasion when white lawmaker Rep. Trevor Jacobs, a Fort Scott Republican, said he was sick of discussing racism because he isn’t racist.
“Pretty near every single bill that we do up here involves race or bigotry or whatever else,” Jacobs said in May of 2023 during House discussion of a police bill that would have increased penalties for people fleeing police officers. “I’m getting tired of being accused for that, for something I have not done and do not do and will not do. There’s no race in this. None. We’ve got to stop making it such a political ploy.”
Carr said he faces accusations of race-baiting or forcing the topic of race into conversations whenever he brings up concerns about how legislation would damage or disproportionately impact communities of color.
“Since taking office, I have worked diligently to scan every bill for racial components,” Carr said.
Andy Reid Calls for ‘Togetherness’ in Message to Kansas City’s Youth After Deadly Parade Shooting: ‘You’re Our Future’
Speaking with reporters for the first time since a deadly mass shooting took place at the end of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2024 Super Bowl parade, Andy Reid made a plea to the city’s youth.
“You’re our future,” the Chiefs head coach, 65, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday, per the Associated Press. “And as great as we can make this place, we want to do that. We can turn this, which was a negative, into a real positive. With just a little togetherness and love, we can fix a lot of problems.”
The Feb. 14 shooting left one woman dead and wounded 22 others. More than half of the victims were under the age of 16, according to local authorities.
Police later arrested and charged Dominic M. Miller, who is 18 or 19 years old, and Lyndell Mays, who is 23 years old, with second-degree murder. Meanwhile, two juveniles who were allegedly involved in the shooting were also arrested and charged with “gun-related” offenses.
On the day of the shooting, Reid was among those offering immediate comfort to children at the scene. “Andy Reid was trying to comfort me, which was nice,” a teenager recalled to The Kansas City Star. “He was kind of hugging me, just like, ‘Are you OK, man? Are you OK? Just please breathe.’ He was being real nice and everything.”
The teen added that the head coach — who is known as “Big Red” — then “left to check on other people.”
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Days later, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his wife, Brittany, visited the local Children’s Mercy Hospital to meet two young sisters who were shot at the parade. “In a time where they are traumatized, saddened, and worried, having a surprise appearance from Patrick and Brittany Mahomes brought the first smile to their faces since tragedy struck,” the family said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“Even though they will be wearing casts for several months they are excited to show loved ones that Patrick signed their cast,” they continued.
Reid’s comments during Tuesday’s press conference at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis “marked the first time anyone from the [Chiefs] organization spoke publicly” since the shooting, the AP reported. The outlet noted that the “team had previously issued a written statement.”
During the conference, Reid also shared his condolences for Lisa Lopez-Galvan, the 43-year-old mother of two who was killed in the shooting. “I want to share my condolences for the Galvan and Lopez family for their loss of Lisa, and for the people of Kansas City,” Reid told reporters, asking them to hold football-related questions until after he spoke about the deadly shooting.
He added, “She was a personality there, and a very good human being, first of all. We’ll all miss her, as I know her family will.”
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