Dec. 2, 2014:
"Governmental Issues Lunch”
Honored guest speakers were the Mayor of Topeka Larry Wolgast, City Council of Topeka members Karen Hiller and Elaine Schwartz and Shawnee County Commissioners Shelly Buhler, Kevin Cook and Bob Archer. Guests briefly stated what they believe will be important issues in local government for 2015. Question and answer session followed.
Presentation of the first "Every Vote Matters" awards occurred on November 20, 2014, as part of the USD 501 Board meeting, at USD #501 board meeting, Burnett Center, 624 SW 24th, Topeka.
This year's recognitions were awarded to high school government teachers who have encouraged students to register, vote, and become engaged in their communities. Awardees, who received a certificate and a $100 check, were Topeka High's Phillip Wrigley and James Dewell; Highland Park's Tom Rogers and Anthony Hensley; and Topeka West teacher Connie Jacobson.
Board President Maryanna Quilty and Voter Services Chair Bernadette Forge presened the awards. Registration to vote and participation at the voting box and in the community are at the core mission of the League of Women Voters.
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In addition to welcoming the League’s presentations on the importance of registering and voting, these teachers have been working in their classrooms to promote citizen participation in government, especially by encouraging their high school students to register and vote. Knowing that school districts do not always have the resources they would like to have for classroom teachers, the League of Women Voters presented, to each government teacher honored, a certificate and a $100 check. As with all classroom teachers, these individuals have had a positive impact on the future of their students and our country as a whole. We whole-heartedly support their efforts in the years to come. Congratulations to all!
State League Day in Topeka —November 8, 2014 —Read details at LWVK web site.
Several LWV-TSC members shared important materials with other LWVK members.
Fundraising Reception, "Art Is an Invitation to Activism" —November 6, 2014
NOTO Arts Center, 1935 N. Kansas Av., Topeka. This event was a reception for League members and guests. Attendees met local artists at an exhibition of their work. The event celebrated the postive impact of the arts on social change and community involvement. NOTO founder Anita Wolgast greeted guests. Guest Speaker was Connie Gibbons, director of the Mulvane Art Museum. — This was a fundraiser for the League, planned by Orion and Carole Jordan.
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Artwork on Display:
Nov. 4, 2014:
"Washburn University Initiatives: KBI Forensics Lab, Morgan Hall renovations, and plans for a new Law School.”
Dr. Jerry Farley, President, Washburn University
Dr. Jerry Farley, Washburn University President since 1997, shared Election Day with League members and guests at the library on November 4. He has overseen historic growth in buildings and programs since his arrival. He shared the vision of the university in preserving historic aspects of the campus such as towers and columns while updating the use and design of buildings to better serve the students. He said, “Washburn is in the business of educating students.” Attraction of students is one reason for working to keep up the appearance of the university. “We are creating an ‘image’” he said.
Morgan Hall is being renovated to become a Welcome Center for student enrollment, a one-stop shop. With the street enhancements on 17th Street, Washburn will have a new front door for the campus once Morgan Hall renovations are completed. At the same time, transfer procedures are being adjusted to create a friendlier atmosphere for students and for more widely accepted transferred credit hours. The largest numbers of transfers come from KU and KSU with Allen County Community College a distant third.
When Dr. Farley came to Washburn, two-thirds of the students were non-traditional students, but that changed as more campus housing was added and filled to capacity. Another dormitory is planned to open for the fall of 2016. It will be located on the east side of campus near Stouffer Hall and the Phi Delta Theta house. Only 9% of students live on campus, but those who do, for at least the freshman year, have a retention and graduation rate of over 80% as compared to a general campus rate of about 50%. Other engagements on campus such as fraternities and sororities, athletics, clubs or student government also increase the retention and graduation rates. Programs are in place to help students who would otherwise not qualify for admission to Washburn. With the addition of the Washburn Tech campus, students can also “bridge” from degrees earned at the tech campus to four year degrees from Washburn University.
New programs or refined programs are developing along with the construction of the new KBI lab on campus. Students can major in CSI in the criminal justice program or participate in the expanded forensics program. The 95,000 square foot building is expected to open in October or November 2015.
The new law school building is planned for the south east corner of campus. It will add 150,000 square feet of space. Use of the old law building when vacated has not yet been determined.
Dr. Farley answered questions about how WU is funded: Budget of about $100,000,000 is 9% state funding, 19% sales tax revenue, just below 70% tuition, and 3-5% endowment. Auditing classes: People over age 60 years of age can now audit classes at Washburn. Hiring and retention of faculty: It is a priority with the stated goal of hiring the first choice of the selection committee in each case. Future models of universities may be more like Washburn with cooperative efforts with tech schools and high schools. Many students of the future may be able to complete degrees started in the last year of high school in three or fewer years. —notes by Charlotte Adair
November 1, 2014:
Fannie Mandelbaum honored by the League of Women Voters
Fannie Mandelbaum, Honorary Life Member of the League of Women Voters, was honored by family and friends November 1, 2014, at a celebration of her 100th birthday. Temple Beth Shalom was the site of the event. She turned 100 year old on November 3rd.
The League of Women Voters of the United States inducted Fannie as an Honorary Life Member in April 2007. She received her Life Member pin and no longer has to pay membership dues. Until recent years, Fannie was very active in our League. She always attended Tuesday Topics, served on the Board of Directors and on several committees. At her birthday celebration, the League of Women Voter of Topeka Shawnee County presented Fannie with a certificate recognizing her long time commitment to and support of the League.
“Your Voice, Your Vote”
The League of Women Voters of Topeka Shawnee County and KTWU Public Television brought voter information programing to your living room. You will note that the League is no longer a sponsor of the Secretary of State forum. We had to withdraw as the League of Women Voters of Kansas is a partner in a law suit over voter identification. KTWU issues programing included:
- September 25 at 7:30 PM “I’ve Got Issues” election special “Your Voice, Your Vote” with candidates for US Senate interviews, with host Janet Jackson-Thompson.
- October 22 at 7:00 PM “Your Voice, Your Vote” forum with candidates for Secretary of State. Nick Haines is the moderator. The forum is co-sponsored by Washburn University Political Science Department.
- October 23 at 7:30 PM “I’ve Got Issues” election special “Your Voice, Your Vote” with candidates for Governor interviews, with host Janet-Jackson Thompson.
- October 29 at 7:00 PM “Your Voice, Your Vote” forum with candidates for US 2nd Congressional District. Nick Haines is the moderator.
Oct. 7, 2014:
Impact of GoTopeka and their partnership with JEDO
Scott Smathers, VP for Government Relations, GO Topeka.
The Topeka-Shawnee County League of Women Voters offered yard signs to members and friends. We have taken the idea from the Johnson County League, but had them made in Topeka using our name. The message reads "Your VOTE Matters." An image of the sign is at the top of this column. Our signs are 18" x 24" on "conoplast," a sturdy water resistant material, two-sided, with built in black metal legs. They are recyclable, so they can be used for future elections.
Sept. 10, 2014:
2014 Membership Event
Our annual event was held at The Eclective, 900 N. Kansas Av., NOTO Arts District, at 7 PM. This year the League focused on the League's cooperative efforts with KTWU on televised candidate forums and interviews planned for this Fall. Our special guest was KTWU program director Val VanDerSluis. —Select a thumbnail to see the larger photo.
Sept. 2, 2014:
Air Service for Topeka
Eric Johnson, Airport President/Director of Air Ports (MTAA)
Wrap-up: WE “WILL KEEP WORKING AND GET THE RIGHT AIRLINE HERE”
By Edith Bronson
“There is no United air service,” Eric Johnson stated after being introduced as Air Port President/Director of Air Ports (MTAA) at Sept 2 Tuesday Topics. “The lack of air service limits our growth. The 9,000 passengers in the area who fly from Kansas City is a $127 million loss to us.”
Being too close to Kansas City is not a factor. Johnson came from a successful airport in a small New York town that was close to three other airports. “Changing this areas’ behavior was slow to startup. The early 25% load factor in January was terrible; by May the load factor had grown to 65%. Further growth didn’t happen. What went wrong? There is no answer yet. We don’t want to repeat mistakes.” Economic development money was received from Kansas, the federal government and the Chamber; since May it has been funded out-of-pocket.
Trying to combine the two airports here would be a huge cost. They provide different services. Billard (Topeka) is for personal planes. Infrastructure is solid. Forbes (Shawnee Co) is for business, military, and leisure travel. About half the income is from the military with the air refueling wing, Ft Riley flights and the longest runway in the state accommodating the 747 and the Russian helicopter carrier. Two airlines provide flights to Nevada resorts about every six weeks.
League members related personal disappointments in the air service and offered suggestions. Johnson said MTAA had provided better value with non-stop service to a hub city and $5 for unlimited parking. Greatest travel was to the Northeast/Washington D.C. Signage inside the building has been installed.
Losing the airline was a huge disappointment. Why did the system not work? Difficulties included cancellations and delays by United; bad weather, FAA regulations that reduced the number of pilots and flying hours; little signage in Topeka, no public transportation to the airport; finding the right publicity avenue. “The Chamber of Commerce was phenomenal about getting the word out.”
MTAA also oversees about 70 buildings including Coca-Cola, Fed Ex, and a private fire alarm company that built a $750,000 facility that will belong to MTAA. Properties are being renewed. A newly hired property manager finds tenants.
Johnson concluded that they would “keep working and get the right airline here.”
July 1, 2014:
Governor's 5-Year Water Management Plan
Susan Metzger, Chief of Planning and Policy with the Kansas Water Office and leader of Governor Sam Brownback’s 50-year water management visioning team. —Read "Kansas Water Office's 500-year plan says Ogallala Aquifer will be 70 percent depleted," by Roxana Hegeman, The Associated Press, 7-1-2014.
League School followed Tues. Topics meeting—
“How the League Studies an Issue” focused on our new local study regarding privatization of economic development including principals of transparency, openness, citizen participation and accountability for the use of public funds.
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Comments by President Maryanna Quilty:
WIBW's "News at Four" gave the League's message invaluable exposure in the community. Our League can not thank WIBW and Ralph Hipp enough for having us on the show for the past year and a half. (The show terminated its run on June 27, 2014.)
June 3, 2014:
State Budget impact on healthcare and education
Duane Goossen, VP for Fiscal & Health Policy, KS Health Institute & former State Budget Director —Read front page coverage in The Topeka Capital-Journal: "Expert forecast: Kansas will be in the red within a year without changes," by Andy Marso, and also "Brownback budget director questions Goossen's record," by Andy Marso, 6-5-14.. See also: Analyst: Kansas leaders misrepresented research into cause of state tax revenue drop," by Bryan Lowry, Eagle Topeka bureau, Wichita Eagle, 6-7-2014. Also read: ""Memo: Kansas revenue dip tied to state, federal tax policy Brownback official reject claims state tax cuts at fault," by Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal, 6-10-14, and "Kansas revenue slips $28M below estimates in June," by Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal, 6-30-14. "Kansas' Ruinous Tax Cuts," by The Editorial Board, NYTimes, 7-13-14. Goossen on The Kansas Budget blog. "S&P downgrades state bond rating," by Andy Marso, 8-7-2014, The Topeka Capital-Journal. "Kansas Revenue Remains in Critical Condition," by Duane Goossen, on his "The Kansas Budget" blog, 9-8-2014.
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League School: Marge Ahrens and Evelyn Davis discuessed how League studies are handled. They focused on our new local study regarding privatization of economic
development including principals of transparency,
openness, citizen participation and accountability for the
use of public funds.
Our League has voted to resume voter registration efforts. People who were registered and have moved within Kansas don't need proof of citizenship. To those who do need to provide proof, we will give an envelope addressed to the Election Office and they will have to send the documents. Alternately, people without proof of citizenship can still use the federal form, but they can then only vote in federal elections.
May 6, 2014:
Kathleen Harvey, Attorney and Immigration Specialist
+ League School w/Bernadette Forge: "How the current Kansas voter laws are impacting the Leagues ability to register voters."
Meeting handout: What Part of Illegal Immigration Don't You Understand?
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In tribute to the memory of Dr. Robert C. Harder, ex-president of LWV-TSC, who passed away on April 12, 2014. Bob has been honored multiple times as an inspiring public servant. He served as Cabinet secretary in the administration of five Kansas governors. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January of this year. He will be greatly missed. An article, "Robert Harder, longest-serving Cabinet secretary in state history, dies at 84," by Eric Smith, was published in the Topeka Capital-Journal on the Monday, April 14, 2014.
April 1, 2014:
The Ogallala aquifer and water resources
David Steward, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Kansas State University
+ Annual Meeting 2014 —Select a thumbnail to see the larger photo
March 4, 2014:
Kansas Open Meetings Act/Kansas Open Records Act
Doug Anstaett, Kansas Press Association, Executive Director
+ League School w/ Betsy Rohleder: "What Happens at Annual Meeting" —Select a thumbnail to see the larger photo
League Day at the Capitol. Photos of this state-level event, held Thurs. Feb. 13, 2014, were once posted on the LWVK web site. They were deleted in an update of the site.
In January Sandra Powell offered her expertise as a Topeka Toastmaster to our members to become more effective public speakers. The League needs people to speak before civic groups and governmentbodies to promote our positions and educate the public to what we do.
January 7, 2014:
Protecting Topeka's River and Streams
Don Rankin, Superintendent, Topeka Utilities —Select a thumbnail to see the larger photo