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Your local and regional news for Northeastern Kansas and the surrounding communities, brought to you by the KPR news staff.

Wichita NWS Office to Be at Cutting Edge of Radar Technology

The National Weather Service radar in Wichita is about to go even more high-tech. Wichita will be just the third place in the nation to receive something called Dual Polarization Radar. Dick Elder is the meteorologist-in-charge at the Wichita office. He says this radar enhancement will improve certain aspects of weather forecasting and monitoring:

The new radar will be operational by Monday the 18th. In the meantime, the Wichita office will use radar feeds from Topeka; Dodge City; Springfield, Missouri and Enid, Oklahoma.

Radar Upgrade Coming to Wichita NWS Office

The National Weather Service office in Wichita is getting a new, state-of-the-art radar upgrade. It will be just the third site in the nation to receive the so-called "dual-polarization" technology. Dick Elder, the meteorologist-in-charge at the Wichita office, says this kind of radar provides an additional tool for looking inside storms:

The Wichita office's current radar is scheduled to be shut down today (WED) to begin the installation of the new technology. Elder says the upgraded radar is expected to be up and running by Monday the 18th.

Oil Production Rises Slightly in KS

Oil production in Kansas rose 2% in 2010 from the year before. Lynn Watney with KU's Kansas Geological Survey says the trend has been up for more than a decade.

The trend is heading in the opposite direction for natural gas production in Kansas. It was down 8 % in 2010 from 2009, mostly because new exploration has declined as gas prices slipped begining in mid 2008.

Fire Worries Cause 6 SW KS Counties to Prohibit Fireworks

Six Southwestern Kansas Counties including Finney and Stanton have banned the discharge of fireworks this year. The drought gripping the region has dried out wheat and other vegetation that can easily be ignited. Ulysses town adminstrator Daron Hall says recent experience convinced officials to ban any substance that can be burned.

A grass fire that burned in Stanton County incinerated 60 square miles in March. Despite the fireworks ban in 6 counties, a few others including Greeley and Scott Counties are going ahead with July 4th fireworks displays.

Democratic Party Chair Concerned About Medicaid Cuts

The head of the state Democratic Party wants Kansans to scrutinize Governor Sam Brownback’s plan for transforming Medicaid. Joan Wagnon says Brownback voted several times as a U-S Senator to cut Medicaid funding. And she’s concerned that his administration’s efforts to cut at least $200 million from the Kansas program will force the reduction or elimination of critical services.

Wagnon, a former legislator and cabinet secretary, attended a public forum yesterday (WED) on the Medicaid transformation initiative.
The meeting was led by several members of Brownback’s cabinet who say that cutting costs isn’t their only objective. They say they also want to improve services and outcomes for the more than 300,000 low-income, elderly and disabled Kansans enrolled in Medicaid.

Work Continuing on Health Reform Despite Opposition

Despite lingering opposition to federal health reform, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says the state should continue to implement the law.

Praeger is using a $31 million federal grant to design a new online exchange that at least 240,000 Kansans are expected to use to purchase health insurance starting in 2014. Consumers will also use the Web-based system – which Praeger says will function much like an online travel site – to determine whether they’re eligible for government subsidies.

Conservative Republicans have warned that legislation needed to create the exchange will face stiff opposition next session. But Praeger – a moderate Republican – says she has to move forward to meet deadlines in both the law and the grant.

Praeger says if lawmakers reject the enabling legislation, the federal government will set up and run the Kansas exchange. If that happens, she says, it could put Kansas-based insurance companies at a competitive disadvantage to large national companies.

Lawrence Humane Society Runs Pro-Adoption Promotion

The Lawrence Humane Society is playing host to a large number of animals...especially cats and kittens. Kayse (KAY-see) Aschenbrenner (ASH-en-brenn-ur) is with Lawrence Humane, and says the group hopes a special promotion will help convince more people to adopt a pet:

The no-adoption-fee promotion will run until the shelter's cat population has stabilized. More information is available online at

Lawrence Humane Society Waiving Fees for Cat Adoption

The Lawrence Humane Society finds itself with a surplus of cats. That's why the group is waiving cat and kitten adoption fees in an effort to find homes for more of these animals. Kayse (KAY-see) Aschenbrenner (ASH-en-brenn-ur) with Lawrence Humane says that the group almost always houses more animals as the weather grows warmer.

There will still be a charge for spaying or neutering of adopted animals. The no-adoption-fee promotion will run until the shelter's cat population has stabilized. More information is available online at


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