A recent decision by South Central Kansas Medical Center to drastically cut back its lab outreach program has caused a lot of concern once again in Ark City, about the financial future of the local hospital. Arkansas City Manager Nick Hernandez was at yesterday’s meeting of the hospital board of directors, to tell them how that decision concerns not only him, but many in Ark City. According to the hospital, although the program has generated more than $1 Million in income since it was started back in February, for some reason, it still is not considered a success. Hospital CEA Virgil Watson, said some insurance providers did not like the way the program worked, so they have refused to issue payments. The city fears that the hospital’s decision to make the cuts, will mean a substantial loss of revenue and likely cause the hospital to go deeper into the red. Hernandez pointed to the fact that the half-cent sales tax that was imposed specifically for the hospital, expires in 2019, and as it stands right now, the hospital’s revenue is not keeping up with its expenses. In fact, if not for the sales tax money, the hospital… despite making an extra million from the lab outreach program, would have actually lost $810,000 in just the past eight months. Hernandez told the hospital board, that the city had hoped the hospital’s financial picture would have improved enough to allow a reissue of the debt, but the current financial situation now makes that all but impossible. Hernandez also said the city had hoped to begin receiving at least partial repayment on the loans next year, but now Ark City leaders are not only afraid that won’t happen, but they are also concerned that the hospital may be back with it’s hand out, asking for even more money again in the next year or so.
Archives for September 2017
Winfield Police will soon be wearing body cameras. The process is now underway, of applying for U.S. Department of Justice grant meant for technology improvements in police departments. That grant application is due October 2nd. After that, it will head off to a Justice Department panel for a decision. Although there is no definite date when any award would be announced, it is hoped that the decision comes soon. If Winfield Police begin wearing cameras, they will join officers with the Arkansas City Police Department and Cowley County Sheriff’s Office, where officers began wearing body cameras in 2015. The lack of cameras in Winfield, till now, has been due to a lack of money to buy them. The department got a quote of $54,000 for the cameras, but that was too much for the budget to handle. In addition to protecting the officers, another big benefit to body-worn cameras is enhancing the public’s trust in police officers. While most Winfield Police vehicles have dash mounted cameras, , they are not enough, because if something happens out of range the camera won’t catch it. Research also shows that body-worn cameras help reduce the number of violent confrontations with police and increase public trust, and incidents of violence and complaints against officers nationwide who use them, have been reduced by 50 percent.
A kidnapping and assault were reported to have occurred at a Winfield convenience store, but Winfield Police now have their doubts. According to a post on Facebook, a 20 year old man from Mulvane was jumped by two men around 11PM on Sunday, September 10th. The man claims the two were carrying batons and guns, and they tied him up, beat him, put him in the trunk of a car, and then left him in a Burden cemetery. But police say their investigation shows it doesn’t add up. Turns out they were right. Now, the alleged victim has retracted his story. Now, charges are said to be possibly pending surrounding the filing of a false police report.
The regular meeting of the Building Trades Advisory Board, that had been scheduled for last evening at City Hall in Arkansas City, has been canceled due to lack of quorum. The meeting will be rescheduled for 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19 in the commission room at City Hall in Arkansas City. Also, there will be a special meeting of the Historic Preservation Board at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 in the commission room at City Hall. The topic of discussion is reviewing proposals for the downtown historic district survey.
Winfield Police arrested Patrick McCullough of Winfield, for driving with a revoked license, having no proof of insurance, and for having an illegal tag. McCullough was caught in the 1900 block of East 12th Avenue. And Winfield Police also tell us that Laiken Adams and Jeffery Bowker… both of Winfield… were involved in a non-injury motor vehicle accident at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Fuller Street. No additional details surrounding that crash have been made public.
The Kansas Supreme Court will review a lawsuit next month, involving a drowning accident that happened near Ark City seven years ago. Jason Patterson and Cortney Brewer died in November of 2010, when the SUV they were in as they traveled on 322nd Road, fell about 12 feet into the river, when the road abruptly ended. Wrongful death suits were filed by their families, centering on whether any government entities should have put up barriers, warning signs, or other traffic control devices to warn that the road ended there. Those wrongful death actions claim three government entities were negligent, and that negligence resulted in Patterson’s and Brewer’s deaths. The defendants are Cowley County, Bolton Township and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Kansas is part of multi-state investigations of companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioid drugs. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said his office is one of 41 state attorneys general participating in the joint investigations. This week, the investigating offices escalated the investigations by subpoenaing or otherwise demanding information and documents from both manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid drugs. The first of the investigations began last year. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates opioid overdoses kill 91 Americans every day. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, pharmaceutical opioids are a leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in Kansas. The CDC says the number of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999, despite Americans reporting a steady amount of pain. Schmidt said he would not discuss the specific companies that are targets of the multi-state investigations at this time nor would he characterize the status of the investigations or what they have found to date.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture led a trade mission to China in August to provide an opportunity for Kansas small businesses to research new markets. The purpose of the mission was to attend Petfood Forum China and participate in the trade show at Pet Fair Asia. In addition to participating in the trade show, the delegation had meetings with the Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture where the team gained useful insight on industry issues in the China market. Global trade is a key economic engine of U.S. agriculture and rural America, including Kansas. China is one of the state’s top five trade partners, and in 2016, Kansas exported over $207 million in agriculture commodities to the Chinese market. The trade mission was funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration using a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant.
An Arkansas City man was arrested after Ark City Police say he attempted to hit two people with a baseball bat. 47 year old Jason Porter is now facing two counts of felony aggravated assault, after officers answered a call about a disturbance in the 1600 block of North Sixth Street. That’s where two victims — a 17-year- old female and a 20-year- old male — reported that Porter had tried to hit them with the bat. The female victim is reportedly related to Porter and he reportedly knew the male victim. Fortunately, nobody was actually hurt. Porter however, was booked into the Cowley County Jail, where he remains in lieu of $20,000 bond.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt has released a statement, saying that a man accused of forcing himself at gunpoint into a state judge’s home and holding the judge hostage for several hours while making demands of other state officials has been sentenced to life in prison for terrorism. 34 year old Jason Linn Nichols of Garden City, was found guilty of one count of terrorism, one count of kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal threat and one count of criminal restraint. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least 20 years, with his sentence to be served in the Kansas Department of Corrections.