Sudipto Sarkar / flickr Creative Commons

The Shawnee County Commission has voted to change the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Commissioner Bob Archer said he pushed for the change because of falling county health rankings.

“If we don’t take action, we’re just not doing our jobs, in my opinion," Archer said. "This is something we can do. It’s sending a message out that we care about the health of our citizens."

The proposal passed on a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Shelly Buhler supported it, but Commissioner Kevin Cook was opposed.

Elaine Thomas Campbell

Growing up in Southern California during the 1970s, Harlis Sweetwater had two major influences: The first was his mother, the second, Chuck Berry. Both were guitarists and vocalists.

The art of being able to do both at the same time isn't as easy as some might think, but Sweetwater remained dedicated. Still in elementary school when he started, he practiced with fervor.

Tex Texin / flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation released its crime index report for 2016 and overall, crime in the state is increasing.

Violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and battery increased by 4.2 percent in the state over the past year. The 2015 numbers were already 11.2 percent higher than the year before that.

Two town hall forums are scheduled in Wichita and Hutchinson to discuss the latest health care policy developments in Washington, D.C., and Kansas.

Members of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas will discuss how policy change at the state level and the national level can impact Kansans.

David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, says the discussion will include how Kansas can expand KanCare, the state's Medicaid program, which would bring in $1.9 million a day to provide health coverage to 150,000 Kansans.

The CEO of Westar says the utility and Great Plains Energy will file their new merger plan with Kansas regulators later this month.

CEO Mark Ruelle says meetings will be scheduled later this year for a shareholder vote on the proposal.

Ruelle updated investors yesterday [Wednesday] on the second plan to combine the utilities. The Kansas Corporation Commission rejected a proposal in April for the $12.2 billion sale of Westar to Great Plains.

Ruelle says paperwork will be filed with state and federal entities by the end of August.

Get Outta' Dodge...Or Embrace The Gunsmoke?

Aug 10, 2017
J. Schafer

There are a lot of legends about the Old West. Many of them involve Kansas towns, especially Dodge City.

Commentator Rex Buchanan, a writer, traveler and director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey, recently read a new book about the famous cowtown, Tom Clavin's Dodge City. It got him thinking about the ongoing shootout in Dodge: the constant battle between fact and fiction.

Stephen Koranda

A year from now, Kansans could be in the middle of the biggest primary battle for governor in recent history.

With Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer poised to finish the term of Gov. Sam Brownback — likely to leave soon for an ambassador job — candidates are lining up for the 2018 contest.

Courtesy photo

A tornado tore through midtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday. Emergency officials did not immediately sound sirens. The incident raised the question: What procedures are being used here in Sedgwick County when a storm is approaching?

The Tulsa tornado had moved on by the time the National Weather Service issued a warning. As a result, emergency management officials reportedly did not sound the sirens.

Cody Charvat, training and exercise manager with Sedgwick County Emergency Management, says that the county has two criteria for deciding to sound the sirens.

Kansas State Historical Society

Morris Communications is selling its 11 daily newspapers and other publications in those markets to New Media Investment Group, the parent company of GateHouse Media Inc. New Media said Wednesday it purchased Morris Publishing Group, the newspaper division of Georgia-based Morris Communications, for $120 million.

The sale includes The Topeka Capital-Journal and daily newspapers in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Alaska. A news release said it should be finalized in October. GateHouse Media owns more than 130 daily newspapers and other publications in 36 U.S. states.

University of Kansas Hospital

Two Kansas hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

U.S. News ranked The University of Kansas Hospital best in the state and Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka second best.

Bob Page, president and CEO of KU Hospital, says the ranking is a tribute to KU’s consistency.

“This is once again a testament to our ability to not be the one-hit wonder, but rather be the organization that year in, year out, is very consistent with its performance,” Page says.