Community

Courtesy Kathy Kennard / Wichita Fire Department

Four Wichita firefighters who lost their lives nearly five decades ago were honored today.

The Wichita Fire Department unveiled a memorial plaque near English and South Topeka, the former site of the Yingling Chevrolet Company.

On the evening of November 21, 1968, a fire broke out in the building. Four members of the Wichita Fire Department—Merle Wells, Dale Mishler, Jimmy Austin and Chief Thomas McGaughey—were killed when the roof collapsed.

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In July, an audit blasted the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) for not doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. As Stephen Koranda reports, a legislative panel has received an update on what the agency has been doing to respond to the findings.

The DCF's Theresa Freed says the department has already put multiple changes in place.

There are additional improvements coming in January, with stricter polices on required monthly visits to check on foster kids. She says there will also be more scrutiny of Kansas foster homes.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

One family in Wichita is taking the idea of a “community pantry” to a very personal level. They’ve set up what’s called a “Blessing Box” of goods in their front yard and are inviting people to take what they need.

Evan Forester / flickr Creative Commons

Community leaders will join the Wichita Griots for a special night of storytelling Saturday.

The event is called Tellabration, which is a global effort to build community support for storytelling.

Founder Jean Pouncil-Burton says a great lineup is planned, including stories from the principal of Holy Savior Catholic Academy and Urban Prep Academy, as well as the pastor of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita.

Several Wichita food trucks are hosting an event Saturday to collect supplies for a local organization that works to end human trafficking.

ICT SOS is collecting a variety of bags packed with basic items such as toiletries, clothes and books, to give to agencies that serve at-risk youth. The “fresh start bags” will go to young victims and survivors of trafficking and abuse.

The organization says when local agencies come into contact with victims and survivors of trafficking and abuse, they’re often in need of basic necessities.

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There continues to be an improvement in the area of using inclusive language when referring to people with disabilities. It's something that experts want to build on.

Shawn Walters is the service manager for the Independent Living Resource Center in Wichita, which helps people with various disabilities: mental, physical or developmental. He says it's important to learn what language a person prefers when describing their disability.

Johnny / flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita Police Department is partnering with the Union Rescue Mission to deliver Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

Police officers will deliver boxes of food to 100 families around Wichita identified as being in need. The food—including turkey and fixings for Thanksgiving dinner--is collected by the Union Rescue Mission, an evangelical Christian ministry that provides shelter and other services to homeless men.

Heartspring.

A Wichita organization that provides educational opportunities for children with special needs is moving forward with its plans to add a new building and to renovate spaces on its current campus.   

Heartspring offers a wide range of services and therapies through several programs, including the Heartspring School, Pediatrics Services and Autism Services.

Its board of trustees unanimously approved plans on Tuesday to improve the Wichita facilities.

vpickering / flickr Creative Commons

Wichita has been recognized nationally for its ongoing efforts to improve conditions for bicycling.

The League of American Bicyclists awarded the local government an Honorable Mention designation on Wednesday for working with community partners to create a bicycle-friendly city.

ARC95 Study Facebook

Two more public hearings are scheduled for the Arkansas River Crossing-95th Street South, or ARC95, Study. It outlines proposed developments along the 95th Street Corridor between Greenwich and Meridian in southeast Sedgwick County.

Residents in Derby and Haysville are invited to give their input over plans to improve the area, particularly around K-15 and 95th Street South, where a BNSF Railroad track runs.

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