McPherson County Road Work scheduled for December 24-30 2014

By McPherson County Public Works
December 18, 2014

McPherson County road crews will continue their work around the Christmas holiday.

Here is their schedule for the week of December 24-30.

Road Maintenance continues on 18th Ave.; between Quivira Rd. & Rainbow Rd.

Bridge Replacement continues on Old Hwy 81 (CR 2043); between Comanche Rd. and Cimarron Rd.

Tree and Brush Control continues on Smoky Valley Rd.; between 14th Ave. and 30th Ave.

Depending on the weather, the actual conditions encountered and requirements at each location could vary for the specific location each day.

The traveling public is urged to obey all traffic control devices and to use caution when traveling in the road construction areas listed.

As a reminder, the Kansas Legislature doubled the fines for any traffic violation in a work or construction zone area.

Roadway maintenance work has become the No. 1 area for accidental death of any work area.

Sen. Moran Introduces Bill Directing VA to Help Veterans Still Struggling with Healthcare Access Under Choice Act

By Office of Senator Moran
December 18, 2014

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation (S.3006) directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to utilize its authority to offer community care to veterans who currently are unable to receive the healthcare services they need from a VA medical facility within 40 miles of where they live.

“The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 was passed with the intention of providing veterans with the choice to access health care outside the VA when timeliness and distance put their well-being at risk,” Sen. Moran said. “Unfortunately, many rural Kansas veterans are still unable to access the care they need because common sense is not prevailing. It has become clear that the VA is implementing the Choice Act in a way that only takes into account distance to a VA medical facility, and not whether that facility can provide the medical services a veteran requires.”

“For example, while the services offered at Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) are invaluable, they cannot meet the health care needs of all veterans. Living near a CBOC should not prevent a veteran from accessing care which the CBOC cannot provide. The VA has the authority to fix this problem and have been calling on the VA Secretary to take action for several months,” Sen. Moran continued. “Enough is enough. In the absence of VA action, I have introduced legislation that would make certain rural veterans are not forgotten just because of where they live.”

In July, the House and Senate came together to pass the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), comprehensive legislation to respond to VA wait-time manipulation and failure to provide timely, quality health care to veterans. This legislation permitted veterans across the country to access non-VA community care if they live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility, including Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), or their wait time for an appointment is more than 30 days. Even with this new law, many rural Kansas veterans are still unable to access the care they require because their nearest VA facility does not offer the medical services they need.

The introduction of S. 3006 comes on the heels of several months of efforts by Sen. Moran to work with the VA on this issue. On September 9, 2014, Sen. Moran questioned VA Secretary Bob McDonald during a Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee hearing on the VA’s interpretation of the 40 mile eligibility criteria of the Choice Act.  

On November 14, 2014, Sen. Moran called on Sec. McDonald to meet in-person to discuss the VACAA and make certain the legislation is implemented and upheld the way it was intended and in the best interest of veterans. This includes offering non-VA care to veterans who are unable to receive the healthcare services they requite from a VA medical facility within 40 miles of where they live.

On December 11, 2014, Sen. Moran met with Deputy Secretary of the VA, Sloan Gibson, who reiterated the limitations of the Choice Act language and indicated the VA could not use its authorities under Title 38 to provide this access to non-VA care.

It CAN Happen to You: Panel discusses emergency preparedness for livestock operations

By Kansas Farmers Union
December 18, 2014

As the storm intensified, the sky grew darker, the driving rain stung like buckshot and a small herd of cattle outside of Bennington sought shelter behind an L-shaped windbreak. In ordinary conditions it would have been a likely place of refuge, but this storm was anything but ordinary. A deep-throated roar swallowed the deepening gloom, its deafening, pulsating howl punctuated by the brittle sounds of things smashing, of things sundering. The herd shifted as one and moaned in anguish and died there in that shadowed windbreak as a tornado sliced through the yard, shredding a steel-sided barn into jagged bits of shrapnel that eviscerated some, beheaded others.

"This is about your place," said Anthony Ruiz, livestock extension agent for the K-State Central Kansas Extension District. "It can happen to you. How do you prepare for something like that? Four key words: prepare, emergency, my place."

Preparing for such emergencies from a livestock producer's point of view was the focus of a workshop held December 10 at the K-State Salina Campus Center. Emergency Preparedness for Livestock Operations, sponsored by Amazing Grazing II, brought together a number of speakers who addressed such issues as risk management and mortality documentation, reaction and response to a high mortality infectious disease outbreak, approved mortality disposal options and the importance of pre-selected emergency disposal sites for large and small livestock farms. Guest speakers included Ruiz, Dr. Joel DeRouchey, K-State Extension Animal Science Department; Ken Powell, Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Bureau of Waste Management; Dr. Charles Barden, K-State Extension Forestry Department; and Dr. Justin Smith, DVM.

Preparing for the worst is good management, Ruiz said. "This is a business, but it's also a way of life," he said. "You can't manage what you can't measure. Preparation is what you do before the emergency."

DeRouchey agreed. "These things don't happen to us, but then they do, and we need a plan in place," he said

Those plans include having an approved pre-selected disposal site, documentation about every aspect of the livestock operation including insurance numbers, phone numbers for emergency personnel and local emergency management services, and complete inventory records on the number of livestock as well as the age of livestock, equipment, buildings and feed.

When disaster strikes, such as last year's freak blizzard in South Dakota that killed an estimated 22,000 cows and 1,400 sheep, there are four options for carcass disposal in Kansas: incineration, rendering, composting and burial. "The fifth-coyotes-isn't one of them," DeRouchey said. "We need to think of the big picture in how to handle that."

Incineration is rarely used today due to high fuel costs, he said, and there are fewer rendering services available for livestock producers. Rendering costs for large animals are also prohibitive, and isn't a perfect option for disposing of large numbers of carcasses. While burial works for small numbers of animals, on a mass scale the necessary equipment has to be on a mass scale, too. Soil types and condition, climate, location, all are important factors when burying.

Burial is also a permanent solution, Powell said. "You need to consider how the land will be used in five, ten or more years," he said. "If you bury animals, you have a permanent burial site."

Composting is the preferred method, both Powell and DeRouchey said, though it's more challenging for beef and dairy operations. It doesn't require fancy equipment and needs only a five foot separation from groundwater and a large above-ground area that won't be used for several months. Research has shown that when done properly, a 700-pound animal will compost in three months.

In terms of mass losses, there are no easy answers, and not every option will work, Powell said. A pre-approval disposal site, however, remains one of the most important criteria for success.

"In an emergency, if you want any approval for what goes on with your farm, you better have a pre-approved site," he said. "If not, I'm going to put them where I think best. You have no say in the matter."

KDHE will assist producers in the pre-selection process, he said, including mapping out the best locations, but the program is voluntary.

In the advent of disaster, rapid response is crucial, especially during the summer months when temperatures are high. Proper disposal reduces the risk of spreading disease, prevents nuisances such as flies, vermin and scavengers, maintains air quality and controls odors, protects water quality both above and below ground, and improves the public's confidence and perception, Powell said.

Despite the worst-case scenario of the Bennington cows, windbreaks are ideal for protecting cattle from winter's worst ravages, Barden said.

"A well designed windbreak allows cattle to need less energy and less food," he said. "The bigger the storm, the bigger the difference a windbreak will have. But poorly-planned windbreaks can worsen the problem. There's a right way to designing them, and a wrong way."

Barden outlined options for windbreaks, including proper species for planting-a mix of cedars and hardwoods is best, with low shrubbery on the lee side of the wind-plant density, aesthetics and grants that are available for Kansas producers. The Kansas Forest Service can assist farmers and ranchers with proper placement and other concerns, he said.

A windbreak isn't a quick fix, he added, but more of a long-term solution. "The best time to plant a windbreak was 15 years ago," he said. "The second best time is now."

And the best time to prepare for emergencies is now, Ruiz said.

"It's your place," he said. "You're responsible for it. Everything that does or does not occur depends on your management."

Even the unthinkable. Especially the unthinkable.

Video of the workshop presentations can be viewed at www.asi.k-state.edu/species/beef/Emergency_preparedness.html

Amazing Grazing is a collaboration of the Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association with funding from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Project partners include: KSRE, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Frontier Farm Credit, NRCS-Kansas, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Ag and Alternative Crops.

For more information about Amazing Grazing II and upcoming workshops, visit the Web site AmazingGrazingKansas.com.

Roberts announces Academy nominees, including Stephanie Farney of McPherson

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today released the names of the young Kansans who will receive his
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Announcements

Apartment 6 Thrift Store--202 N Main--selling all Christmas items half price through Christmas. Open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30am-2pm. --

Call 241-1292 now to make your reservation for the free Christmas Community Dinner on 12/25 --

Lots of cats and kittens are available for adoption at the McPherson Humane Society--201 S Elm. Hours are 7-9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday so stop by for a visit! -- 241-3682

Wanted

Two dry wheat straw bales -- 755-5233

Cooktop that measures 21.5" x 30", white or black -- 620-755-4257

White electric stove in good working condition -- 620-654-2593

Announcements

McPherson Wrestling Club is hosting a Chili Feed Fundraiser on Thursday 12/18 from 5-7pm at the American Legion on North Main in McPherson. Tickets are $5 each at the door. --

Found

Womens size M North Face right-handed knitted black glove FOUND about two weeks ago in the 900 block of North Elm -- 241-4211

Lost

One year old female gray and white short hair cat named "Isabelle" with faded red collar LOST Monday 12/15 morning from 600 block of North Oak -- 755-6919

Wanted

Inexpensive vehicle with automatic transmission that runs for disabled person on fixed income -- 620-654-6097

Coonskin cap for school project on Friday, will buy or borrow -- 620-504-6163

Used vacuum in good condition, priced at $25 or less -- 241-6372

Lost

Young female calico kitten LOST from North Main area in Lindsborg earlier this week. Her 8 year old owner really misses her, so please call if seen. -- 785-227-2304

Wanted

Mens size 11 or 12 boots, don't have to be steel-toed -- 620-755-2876

Announcements

MMS Hosts Alternative Gift Market On Thursday, December 18, McPherson Middle School art students will host an alternative gift market in conjunction with the holiday vocal concert. Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food items to benefit the McPherson County Food Bank. Cash donations can also be made in exchange for artwork created by the students. Dollars raised will be donated to United Way of McPherson County. “Show You Care – VOLUNTEER,” a book focusing on a community food drive and the power of volunteerism, will be sold for $5.00 per book. The children’s book was written by United Way director Anne Kirchner and illustrated by local resident Traci Parrish. The free concert begins at 6:30 p.m. with the alternative gift market open before and after the concert. Art students will also be raising funds for their program by providing a hot cocoa bar. --

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