Sedgwick County

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

A plan to reopen the Lake Afton Public Observatory is moving forward.

Wichita State University closed the 34-year old observatory last August as attendance had dipped in recent years. Ever since the Lake Afton Public Observatory closed, a local group of astronomers has been working to reopen the facility.

Gilber Stuart, Library of Congress

Before you head out tomorrow to try to see the new Gordon Parks exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum, remember: Many city and county facilities will be closed Monday in observance of President’s Day.

The following City of Wichita facilities and operations will be closed Monday:

Carla Eckels

A judge will hear arguments next month on the request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a Wichita mathematician who is seeking to audit voting machine results after finding statistical anomalies in election counts.

A hearing has been set for Feb. 18 in Sedgwick County District Court.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM, flickr Creative Commons

Sedgwick County lawmakers will hold a public forum Wednesday night in downtown Wichita. It’s an opportunity for residents to voice concerns and request action from the South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation.

State Rep. Gail Finney of Wichita says she expects the forum will include several topics, including the state budget, Medicaid expansion, mental health, school funding, Kansas Department of Transportation funding, medical marijuana and changes in sales tax.

www.voteranzau.org

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has blocked a second attempt to recall Commissioner Richard Ranzau.

The group Recall Ranzau submitted a second petition earlier this month after Bennett rejected a previous push to recall the Sedgwick County Commission chairman. In it, they state that as a public official, Ranzau has failed to support the state constitution and failed to act as a commissioner and as a board of health. 

Abengoa Bioenergy

A Sedgwick County ethanol plant has closed, leaving dozens of employees out of work.

Abengoa Bioenergy closed its plant in Colwich after the company filed for bankruptcy protection about two weeks ago.

About 20 to 30 people worked at the plant.

Colwich Mayor Terry Spexarth says losing the plant will have an impact on the city’s finances.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

The debate over the size and role of government isn’t just polarizing national politics. It's also causing divisions in Kansas at the state and local levels. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has the story about how public health programs here in the state's largest county have been thrust into the center of that debate.

ung.edu

The Sedgwick County Commission voted unanimously today to appoint Brig. Gen. Michael Scholes, Sr. as the next county manager.

Scholes will replace Bill Buchanan who retired in June after more than 20 years on the job. The job is the highest non-elected position in county government, which includes 2,663 active full and part time employees.

According to a release from the county, Scholes served as chief of staff for the Kosovo Forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Kosovo from 2014-2015. Commissioner Richard Ranzau said Scholes is currently living in Virginia.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Commission passed a budget Wednesday after weeks of public feedback--most of which was negative.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Commission votes tomorrow on the 2016 proposed budget. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc talked to some experts about the numbers.

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