Unknown Object

Over the past year, area resident, Jeff Kramer, Wellsville, has been trying to find out what an object was. Perhaps “trying to find out,” is the wrong words.  Maybe, confirming would be a better choice.  Kramer described the object, in a series of emails,

The object was found connected by wires to 9-volt battery that also had been burned.
The object was found connected by wires to a 9-volt battery that also had been burned.

The object is “pear” shape and size.  It is composed of molted/charred plastic presumably TPU thermoplastic polyurethane (grey in color), a stainless steel spring can be seen in the second and third picture and an insulated wire extending from top to bottom curving around the spring.  The third picture shows the object in its entirety:  two separate copper wires coming out of the top; 13ft of copper wire that is intertwined with its self; and one end of the wire is crimped with a small “L” copper connector and the other may have the same but is covered in molted/charred plastic.

Fall from the Sky

Before getting into all that, let’s back up. It was January 14, 2018, a snowy evening, when Kramer and his wife Barbara seen a fiery object falling from the sky.  A few days later, Kramer found a burned object in his backyard.  What was it?  Was it from Tiangong-1, the Chinese space lab that crashed on April 1, 2018? Sure this piece landed in mid-January, two-and-a-half months before the space lab crashed.  Still, though, could it be that a piece fell from the lab weeks ahead of its own fall? It had been disabled for a while before that eventual and expected fall.

These were questions, that Kramer, himself was asking.  According to LiveScience.com, if a piece of this space station, or any other rocket or satellite you should not touch it.

So, what should you do if you find a piece of what you think is space debris? “The best thing to do is to contact your local authorities,” Pearlman said. “They will contact the federal authorities and arrange for the proper collection and appropriate return to the Chinese government.” – LiveScience.com

Reporting and Investigation

 

Using a dental x-ray machine, Kramer and his dentist attempted to view inside the object.
Using a dental x-ray machine, Kramer and his dentist attempted to view inside the object.

He did that, but the Miami County Sheriff did not contact the federal authorities. Over the course of the past year, Kramer as contacted numerous people to inquire about the object.  He contacted former Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, Congressman Roger Marshall, and even Vice-President Mike Pence.  Some have written him back,  some did not respond.  Kramer was undeterred, he wanted to know what it was.  He had to find someone that would take it seriously and tell him what this object was.  Was it from Tiangong-1?  As Kramer told the Gazette (January 27, 2019) there is plenty of hypotheses, but still no validation.

 

 

HIs determination, to figure out what the object was led him to his dentist who agreed to take images of the object.  There were six x-rays that were taken and then stitched together. Inside the object, one can see more wires and springs.  Still though, not any definitive proof as to what the object may be.

Since then, he has located a chiropractor that agreed to take digital x-rays of the object, which shows a somewhat clearer image of the inside, including previously unseen springs. Still, the question remains is it space junk?  Why hasn’t anyone from NASA or the Federal Government, in general, come to look at it?   For Kramer, his search for answers continues.

 

 

Wichita Woman Pleads Guilty to Medicaid Fraud, Related Charges

WICHITA –– A Wichita woman pleaded guilty May 17, to Medicaid fraud and related charges, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Jessica Jo Washington, 32, pleaded guilty in Sedgwick County District Court to one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of felony mistreatment of a dependent adult. The charges stemmed from an investigation by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division, which revealed that Washington mistreated a resident while working as a Certified Nurse Aide in a Sedgwick County nursing facility. The crimes occurred in July 2018.

As a condition of the plea, Washington has agreed to voluntarily surrender her certification with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. District Judge Terry Pullman accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for July 9 at 8:45 a.m.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Meghan Markey of Schmidt’s office.

Kansas filed the case as part of a sweep of Medicaid Fraud enforcement actions involving misconduct by health care providers. As part of that effort, the Kansas attorney general filed criminal charges against ten individuals. Four of those individuals have now been found guilty. Six additional cases remain pending.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly Veto’s Tax Reform Bill

On Friday, May 17, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a tax relief bill known as House Bill 2033.  The veto was not a surprise as she had promised that would be what she would do.  In a press release, the Governor said that she had a long record of supporting responsible, commonsense tax policy. However, she said,

“Unfortunately, that is not what House Bill 2033 represents. It will decimate the state’s ability to pay our bills and invest in our people. Just as Kansas begins to stabilize after years of senseless fiscal crisis, House Bill 2033 will create a $1 billion deficit within three years.”

Governor Laura Kelly
Governor Laura Kelly

She further stated that one of her top priorities, as Governor was to lower Kansas’ unacceptably high tax on food. We must first provide relief for those who need it most and then ultimately for all Kansans. We need stability so our tax code can offer certainty to businesses and families. “This,” she said, “all must go hand-in-hand with rebuilding our state’s rainy-day fund so we can weather economic downturns without putting our schools and children at risk. Kansas is also long overdue for a thorough, nonpartisan study of how we can ensure our tax code is fair and truly incentivizes economic growth – in urban and rural communities alike. Our state has not conducted such a study since 1995.”

Her press statement continued by saying,

“Kansans deserve a plan. Successful tax reform must be shaped by a thoughtful, big-picture vision – not by a rushed attempt to achieve an immediate political victory. To that end, my administration recently began outlining a plan to help build this vision, which I look forward to sharing in the weeks to come.”

“Pro-business, pro-growth, pro-family tax policy can absolutely reshape Kansas for the better, but only if it fixes the failures of the past, not repeats them. I was elected to rebuild our state; House Bill 2033 is not the way to do it.”

Concluding her statement, she said,

Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Kansas Constitution, I hereby veto House Bill 2033.

 

Following Governor Kelly’s veto of HB 2033, the tax bill that would ensure Kansans keep more of their hard-earned money, Americans for Prosperity-Kansas State Director Jeff Glendening released a response saying,

“Kansas families deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money. This bill would save taxpayers millions by reversing the unintended state-level tax bump for folks who saw tax relief from federal tax reform. Now Kansans are facing a tax hike on top of an already heavy tax burden. We urge lawmakers to override this veto.”

 

Opinion: Puerto Rico Statehood

I have been thinking for months that I needed to open write this letter, to every member of Congress. Sadly, I kept putting it off. Perhaps though it was a matter of timing. On March  28, a couple of members of Congress brought my thoughts before Congress. In a comment on a friend’s Facebook post, I stated my opinion. This two-sentence comment was just a few hours before Representative Darren Soto (D-FL), introduced legislation Thursday to make Puerto Rico the nation’s 51st state. His co-sponsor is the shadow member of Congress from Puerto Rico. She is a “shadow member,” because since she is from a U.S. Territory she cannot vote on the floor of Congress. Each territory has a shadow member, they can vote in committees and cosponsor bills, but they cannot cast an actual vote in Congress. Which is part of the crux of the issue! Puerto Rico residents are U. S. Citizens but they have no true representation in Congress.

Furthermore, the residents can vote in presidential primaries, but they cannot vote in Presidential general elections or even Congressional elections. That simply is not right. It is time to stop treating them like an unwanted stepchild and fully admit them as the 51st state, with the full rights of all other U.S. Citizens. They are U.S. Citizens and should be treated as such. The territory should become the 51st state.

They have voted to be admitted. In fact, there have been four votes for statehood. The most recent in June 2017, in which the residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of.  Let’s stop playing around and get our 51st state, without haste.  After that, I believe our other U.S. territories should become states as well. Those other territories are American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Like Puerto Rico, the residents are U.S. Citizens, but cannot vote in the Federal general elections. It is time to make this right. However, we must start with Puerto Rico, without delay, which has voted in favor of becoming a state.

—-

D. Kevin Surbaugh
1003 9th St
Baldwin City, KS 66006
785-304-4041

Dodge City Brewing Supports Veterans’ Art Therapy Project

When Paula Sellens was elected American Legion Auxiliary District Eight President in 2016, she was charged with developing a President’s Project to benefit veterans. She launched an art therapy program for veterans at Ft. Dodge Soldier’s Home for her project. She obtained funding from an art auction the first year, then received two grants from the Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas to keep pace with the growing popularity of the project.

The initiative received continued support with additional funding from American Legion Department Commander Dan Wiley and the Dodge City Chapter of the Retired Teachers Association. Sellens also received a grant from The American Legion Auxiliary Foundation to purchase additional art equipment.

The art therapy program continues to gain recognition and support. Dodge City Brewing Co. recently sponsored a public showing for some of the Ft. Dodge art projects. Dodge City Brewing made room among its fine craft beers and stone baked pizza for the art display. In addition to providing a location for the event, owners Larry and Sheri Cook made a significant financial contribution. “We heard about Paula’s art therapy classes at Ft. Dodge,” Sheri Cook said. “This was our way to support our patriotic veterans.”

Governor Kelly Signs Bill Supporting Licensed Retail Liquor Stores

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed several bills this past week, including one that provides support to local licensed retail liquor stores and the Kansas citizens who own them.

“Throughout my years of serving in the Legislature, I have supported our licensed retail liquor stores and the Kansas citizens who own them,” Kelly said. “I know that April 1 has brought new challenges as well as new opportunities for these small Kansas-owned businesses.”

 

House Bill 2035 simplifies the tax duties of licensed retail liquor stores, as it relates to the sale of cereal malt beverages and strong beer products. It also provides for uniform law enforcement under the New Beer Law that became effective on April 1, 2019. This legislation will become effective upon its publication in the Kansas Register.

 

“I encourage Kansas shoppers to continue to choose to shop at local businesses where the profits and tax dollars support the local economy,” Kelly said.

 

The governor signed five additional bills yesterday, bringing the total number of bills signed in the 2019 Legislative Session to 18, with one being vetoed. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign bills into law, veto bills or allow bills to become law without her signature.

 

House Bill 2104

Amending the statute governing tests related to driving under the influence (DUI), effective July 1, 2019, to amend the oral and written notice a law enforcement officer must provide when requesting a person take such a test. Specifically, the bill clarifies that refusal to submit to and complete the test or tests will result in suspension of the person’s driving privileges for a period of one year and test failure will result in suspension of the person’s driving privileges for a period of 30 days or one year.

 

The bill also amends preliminary screening tests and implied consent advisories. This legislation will become effective upon its publication in the Kansas Register.

 

House Bill 2201

Updating statutory references necessitated by 2012 Executive Reorganization Order No. 41 by transferring the powers, duties, and functions of the Tuberculosis Control Program for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). This legislation will become effective on July 1, 2019.

 

House Bill 2211

Allowing courts to waive or reduce driver’s license reinstatement fees if they find payment, of the assessed amount, would impose manifest hardship on that person or that person’s immediate family. This legislation will become effective on July 1, 2019.

 

Senate Bill 90

Allowing financial institutions to claim the Center for Entrepreneurship tax credit and increasing the annual tax credit limit that can be claimed. This legislation will become effective on July 1, 2019.

 

Senate Bill 94

Establishing a minimum course duration of four hours for motor vehicle accident prevention courses, requiring the course to utilize a driver training curriculum recognized by a state or federal agency, and other technical changes. This legislation will become effective on July 1, 2019.

Lawrence Presbyterian Manor Earns Zero-Deficiency Rating for Assisted Living

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lawrence Presbyterian Manor earned a zero-deficiency survey from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services following its assisted living inspection March 15, 2019.

Senior living communities that offer assisted living are surveyed by their licensing agency for compliance of regulations established by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. These regulations are designed to ensure a standard of care is met. By meeting this standard, senior living communities are able to renew their licenses and continue to provide care.

“Every day I see our employees go above and beyond in the care they provide,” said Christie Patrick, executive director. “This recognition is tangible proof of our commitment to providing quality senior care and services based on Christian values. The way you want to live is more than a tagline for Lawrence Presbyterian Manor; it is a culture built on the understanding of compassionate service to seniors—a foundation of trust for families and their loved ones.”

Lawrence Presbyterian Manor is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Its assisted living neighborhood, which is licensed by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, is inspected every 12 to 18 months to ensure quality, of care. Residents have their own private residences and may receive some assistance with activities of daily living.

For more information about Lawrence Presbyterian Manor’s Assisted Living options, contact Angela Fonseca, health care marketing director, at 785-841-4262 or afonseca@pmma.org.

Hawver: Tax Cut?

The major tax cut bill of the 2019 Legislature has now passed, in slightly different forms, both the House and Senate and we’re waiting to see what happens next…and next…and possibly next as the 2017 federal tax cuts trickle down into state finances and politics.

Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver

The Legislature’s tax debate wasn’t all that exciting because, well, it’s a tax bill and it is complicated and technical. So, the excitement starts now.

Key is that both the Republican-controlled House and Senate have agreed to the major income tax cut provisions of the bill. The Senate baked the cake, with about $187 million in income tax cuts this year, about $50 million for individual income taxpayers and about $137 million for corporate income taxpayers. Next year, the ratio changes, with some individual Kansans seeing about $60 million in cuts, corporations about $51 million in cuts.

And when that cake got to the House, well, it got frosted. The House added a 1 percent cut in the state sales tax on food (from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent) which will cost the state about $43 million in lost revenue next fiscal year and about $66 million in lost revenue (or, kept by food buyers), partially paid for by a new Internet sales tax, which might bring in about $21 million next year and maybe $33 million a year after that.

The next thing to happen will be when the Senate decides whether it wants that appealing frosting. We all want to pay less sales tax on the food or anything we buy, and those local stores don’t want Internet sellers, to not have to collect Kansas sales tax that they have to charge customers, which costs them, customers.

Now, part of the House’s frosting looks better than it’s actually going to taste. Dropping the sales tax on food (starting Oct. 1) is going to leave a little more change in Kansans’ pockets. And the guy buying steak gets the same percentage cut as the guy buying bologna. Hard to tell whether either will notice the sales tax cut, but the provision is probably worth mention on a campaign palm card.

And everyone who has a store is by this time tired of customers saying they can get stuff cheaper over the Internet…especially without a 6.5 percent sales tax added in as local stores must.

So, watch for the Senate to decide next week whether to negotiate those food and Internet taxes or just OK them and vote to send the bill to the governor.

Next after that?

It’ll be the governor likely vetoing the bill because it will upset her budget and because nobody’s really sure yet just what that federal tax cut /expansion “trickle down” is going to mean to state revenues. Lots of guesses, lots of charts and tables and explanations, but the Department of Revenue hasn’t actually counted the dollars in additional revenue that federal tax cut will send to Kansas.

While the House and Senate stand for reelection next year, Gov. Laura Kelly’s got nearly four years to figure out how to pay for basic state responsibilities: schools, highways, possible expansion of Medicaid, pension, roads… She needs revenue to pay for all the things Kansans want and need from their government.

And next after that?

It’ll be the House and Senate trying to override the veto. The House passed the bill 76-43, and in that chamber, it takes 84 votes to override a veto. The Senate earlier passed the (un-frosted) bill 26-14, just one vote short of the 27 needed for an override.

And next after that? If it becomes law, we’ll see how House and Senate candidates tout it.

One Republican already has calculated that a 1 percent drop in the sales tax is—ready?—a 15 percent cut in the sales tax on food…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Governor Proclaims Kansas American Legion Day

On March 15, 1919, The American Legion was founded in Paris France by members of the American Expeditionary Force. Over the past 100 years, The Kansas American Legion has become a preeminent community-service organization in Kansas. It has more than 40,000 family members in over 500 Kansas American Legion posts, units, and squadrons. These Legion entities promote a variety of programs that support the goals of The American Legion.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly recognized the special role that Kansas American Legion members play in supporting Kansas veterans. Governor Kelly recently signed a proclamation designating March 15, 2019, as Kansas American Legion Day.

“We appreciate the Governor recognizing the significant contributions made by American Legion Posts as pillars in Kansas communities over the last 100 years,” Kansas Department Commander Dan Wiley said. “Kansas has a special place in the history of The American Legion. One of our favorite sons, Harry Colmery, Past National Commander from Topeka, was the author of the post-World War II G.I. Bill of Rights that lifted the standard of living for an entire generation. We look forward to another century of service positively impacting the lives of veterans and the communities in which they live.”

Kansas Department Vice Commander Chuck Shoemaker agreed. Shoemaker has participated in three signings in the Governor’s Office proclaiming the state’s gratitude for American Legion activities. “There’s a sense of pride in being associated with dedicated Legion Family members that make it happen,” Shoemaker said. “There’s little doubt that the unwavering principles of our Kansas American Legion Family will ensure continued service to the State of Kansas Veterans into the next 100 years.”

Legislative Update By State Senator Caryn Tyson

March 1, 2019

Turnaround is the halfway point in the legislative session.  It is a point when bills die that have not passed the originating chamber or have not been in an exempt committee.  The Senate exempt committees are Federal & State Affairs, Tax, and Ways & Means.  Generally, there is a major push to work as many bills as possible before the turnaround.  My first year in the legislature we worked long hours for several days, including 24 hours the last day before turnaround. This year was much different.  We worked several bills and then Senate leadership decided to take off the last day before turnaround.  Needless to say, it was disappointing.  While I appreciate the meticulous pace in working legislation, we could have worked another day on the floor and completed more of the State’s business.

Taking an approved Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course will qualify most drivers for a reduction in their motor vehicle insurance.  Some insurance companies offer as much as a 10% discount.  The course must be completed every three years.  Currently, an online course takes four hours to complete, while an in-person course takes eight hours to complete.  Senate Bill (SB) 94 would make a course four hours, regardless if online or in-person.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

KS Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) requested SB 49 that would remove the cap on cabin rentals owned and operated by KDWPT.  I did not support removing the cap and raised the question – should state government be in the business of competing with private sector lodging accommodations? The bill passed the Senate with 29 Yes and 11 No votes.

Eudora Community Library District  Act, SB 50, would allow the city of Eudora and the local township to continue to be a library district.  Eudora was a class 3 city that formed a library district with the local township.  However, Eudora became a class 2 city because of an increase in population, which forced a change in the library district.  This may not seem like important legislation but it is because most library districts are taxing authorities.  Statewide, Kansas libraries collect approximately $114 million a year in property taxes.  The new Eudora Library Board would first be appointed, not allowing voters an opportunity to select their representation.  While I support libraries, I am a stronger advocate for elected representation.  The bill passed  Yes 27 to No 12.  I voted No.

Law enforcement must obey the rules of the road as we do.  SB 34 would give law enforcement some leeway when the rules impede law-enforcement action.  The bill passed the Senate 34 Yes to 4 No.  I voted Yes.

Advance Ballot Signatures: SB 130 would require county election officers try to contact each voter who submits an advance ballot that is not signed or the signature does not match the signature on file, allowing the voter an opportunity to correct it before final canvass.  While I have concern as to the logistics, especially in larger counties, we need to make every attempt that all legal ballots are counted.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

There were many more bills debated and passed, too many to list here.  Many legislators support transparent government, myself included.  As a result of this effort committee meetings and daily sessions are available online.  Legislation and the meetings can be found at www.kslegislature.org.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.

Caryn