Top Morning News 01.10.13
Brownback to hold press conference on a new state mental health initiative; McConnell Air Force Base finalist for tanker contract; South-central delegation to hold annual meeting.
Brownback To Unveil Kansas Mental Health Initiative
Gov. Sam Brownback will announce a new mental health initiative Thursday, before the start of the 2013 legislative session.
The governor has scheduled a joint news conference with Sean Sullivan, the secretary of the Department for Aging and Disability Services. The event will be held at the Wyandotte Center, one of 27 community mental health centers throughout the state.
He hasn't given details about the initiative, but said earlier that the state should examine whether it provides sufficient mental health services.
Those comments came a few days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
McConnell, Forbes On Short List For Air Force Tanker Contract
The Air Force has selected both McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and Forbes Airfield in Topeka as finalists to become a base for air refueling tankers.
U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts say both installations are finalists for the main operating base. McConnell is also a finalist to house the formal training unit.
The location chosen as the main operating base will support 36 active-duty KC-46-A tankers, starting in 2014. The senators say the decision shows the Air Force recognizes the critical role Kansas plays in national security.
Community Leaders To Share Their Hopes, Concerns For State Legislative Session
The South Central Delegation will hold it's annual meeting Thursday at Wichita State University. Wichita leaders will share their agenda with state lawmakers before the next legislative session starts Monday.
Bronze Sculpture In Wichita Park Vandalized
Wichita police are investigating vandalism to a life-size bronze sculpture in Heritage Park. The city's Arts and Cultural Services Division says a sculpture called "Heritage Woman" has been knocked off its base and broken in half.
The sculpture is more than 5 feet tall and sits in Heritage Park, behind the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. There's no word on when the damage happened or how much it will cost to repair.
The sculpture was created by Richard Bergen of Salina and donated to the city in 1976.
Drought Disaster Declared For 104 Kansas Counties
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a drought disaster in 104 of the state's 105 counties. This clears the way for farmers and ranchers to seek low-interest emergency loans.
Wednesday's declaration omits only Doniphan County, which is located in far northeastern Kansas.
Governor Brownback said that Kansas is entering its third straight year of severe drought.