City of Wichita

Radek Szuban / flickr Creative Commons

Fall may have just started, but the Wichita Fire Department is urging residents to start prepping their houses for "home heating season."

Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says the department typically sees an increase in house fires during the winter months when people start using their heating systems. There have already been four fatal house fires in Wichita this year, he says: two caused by smoking, and two whose causes have yet to be determined.

City of Wichita Youtube

The Wichita Police Department gave an update Thursday on its efforts to implement the recommendations laid out in an extensive assessment released last year. A major focus for the department has been improving the relationship with the community.

vpickering / flickr Creative Commons

Biking while intoxicated will no longer be treated as a DUI in Wichita.

A new ordinance has created a separate category to charge cyclists who get behind the handlebars while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The City of Wichita considers bicycles to be a vehicle—but the State of Kansas does not.

Wichita Police Chief Deputy Jose Salcido says the inconsistent definitions made it difficult for Wichita law enforcement to charge cyclists with a DUI.

Dave Schumaker, flickr Creative Commons

Update-The U.S. Geological Survey is updating the official magnitude of the Sept. 3, 2016, Pawnee, Oklahoma, earthquake to magnitude 5.8 (from 5.6), making it Oklahoma’s largest recorded earthquake to date. 

Original- According to officials, an earthquake that shook Wichita just after 7 a.m. Saturday caused more damage to city facilities than past quakes, but none of it was significant. Damage from the 5.6 magnitude earthquake has been found to be mostly cosmetic.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

A new hotel is coming to downtown Wichita. As KMUW’s Nadya Faulx reports, the project has some controversial backing from the city.

The Hilton Garden Inn will be built at Douglas Avenue and Topeka, where the current building, Commerce Plaza, has remained vacant for years.

Jack Amick / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita is offering free paint to homeowners inside city limits who meet certain income guidelines.

The income limits are as follows:

  • Just over $36,550 for a single-person household;
  • $41,750 for a two-person household;
  • $46,950 for a three-person household.
  • $52,150 for a four-person household.

According to a release from the city, qualified homeowners are eligible for up to $250 in paint. Paint/labor grants for up to $5,000, including paint, will also be offered to income-eligible senior citizens, age 62 and above.

City of Wichita

The Kansas Humane Society has broken its record for the number of animals adopted in a single year.

With kittens and puppies in hand, employees of the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita were proud to announce at a press conference at City Hall that their organization had a record year in terms of how many pets they rescued and placed in homes.

City of Wichita

The Wichita City Council voted unanimously today to approve next year’s budget. The budget totals about $581 million.

According to City Manager Robert Layton, the largest source of income for Wichita is property taxes, which account for about one-third of the city’s revenue. The biggest expenses for the city are the Police and Fire Departments, which amount to more than half of the city’s general fund expenditures.

Neighborhood Night Out

Neighborhoods across Wichita will take part in events Tuesday as part of a national community safety initiative.

Neighborhood Night Out is a chance for Wichitans to get to know their neighbors as a way to promote community safety and combat crime. The initiative, formerly known in Wichita as National Night Out and Celebrate Safe Communities, takes place all across the country.

City of Wichita

The Wichita City Council is expected to vote on the 2017 city budget on Tuesday.

The proposed budget totals about $581 million, $60 million more than the revised 2016 budget. The tax levy for city residents will remain the same.

The budget includes include $4.3 million for the cultural arts plan and an increase in funding for downtown development.