Top Morning News 11.27.12
Hazardous waste clean up in Salina; New teacher evaluation system in the works; Vehicle fatalities up in Kansas; Dry conditions continue to affect winter wheat.
Extension Sought In Settlement For Salina Site
Officials from Salina and the federal government want more time to finalize a proposed financial settlement for cleaning up contamination at a former Air Force base.
Lawyers for the city and the Justice Department Monday asked a federal judge to set a February 13 deadline for final approval of the proposed settlement. The previous deadline was Tuesday. Schilling Air Force base closed in the 1960s, then became part of the city and home to the Salina airport.
Salina officials filed suit in 2010 to recoup the cost of cleaning up the leftover pollution, which includes TCE, or trichloroethylene. TCE was used as an industrial solvent and has since been classified as a human carcinogen.
Kansas Plots Teacher Evaluation Course
Kansas teachers and administrators are working with the state Department of Education to develop an evaluation system to measure their performance.
The Kansas Education Evaluation Protocol (KEEP) is a pilot program being used in about two dozen districts statewide. It is part of the state's efforts to comply with the requirements of a federal waiver it received under the No Child Left Behind Act.
All school districts will have to implement some system of evaluation by the 2014-2015 school year. Some may use the KEEP system, while other districts could use programs already in place. State officials say the next step will be linking the evaluation system with student performance. A commission of teachers and administrators are working on that transition.
Vehicle Fatalities Trending In The Wrong Direction
Thirty-nine people died on Kansas roads in October. That brings the total for the first ten months of 2012 to 352.
Another Dry Week Takes Toll On KS Wheat
The emerging Kansas winter wheat crop continues to suffer from warm, dry and windy weather. Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 25 percent of the wheat is now in poor to very poor condition. About 46 percent is rated as fair, with just 28 percent in good condition and 1 percent rated excellent.
Ninety-seven percent of the wheat has emerged, the same as last year at this time but slightly ahead of the average of 94 percent. Among other crops, the Kansas cotton harvest was 84 percent complete as of Sunday. Growers had also cut 96 percent of the sunflower crop.
Livestock producers are also being hit hard by the weather. Supplies of hay and forage are reported 71 percent short to very short across Kansas.