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

Final Medicaid Forum Scheduled for Wednesday

The fourth and final public meeting on Governor Sam Brownback’s Medicaid reform initiative is scheduled for tomorrow (WED) in Overland Park. State Health Secretary Robert Moser says the goal is to slow the rate of growth in the health care program for low-income and disabled Kansans. He says they're hoping to reduce Medicaid’s costs by about $200 million over two years, getting about half that in the first year.

Moser says improving the care provided to more than 300,000 Kansans on Medicaid is just as important as cutting costs. Critics say such deep cuts are more likely to reduce services. The meeting is scheduled from 1 to 5pm tomorrow (WED) at the Overland Park Convention Center. Those interested in attending are asked to make reservations on KDHE’s website(

Johnson County Steps Up Effort to Catch Drunk Drivers

Police across Kansas are beefing up traffic patrols in anticipation of the coming Labor Day holiday. Three people die on Kansas roads every day in connection with drunk driving. A statewide effort is already underway to crack-down on DUI offenders. Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Erickson says DUI checkpoints will begin this week.

Johnson County also promises increased enforcement of the state's seatbelt law. Authorities urge drivers to stay sober and patient as they drive around the state in these remaining weeks of summer... and all year long.

Royals Top Draft Pick Chooses Baseball over Huskers

It went down to the wire, but the Kansas City Royals got their man. Nineteen-year old Bubba Starling...a graduate last spring from Gardner-Edgerton High School...turned down a chance to play quarterback for the Huskers of Nebraska. Instead, he accepted the bonus offer to sign with the Royals. Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin has the story.

Anti-Dropout Program Could Be Ending

A highly-regarded anti-dropout program in a Kansas school district may be about to end. Earlier this year, the U-S Army announced "Project Pass," a leadership program using military-style techniques being piloted at six middle and high schools across the country. Garden City was selected as one site for the experimental project. However, Kansas State Board of Education chair Dale Dennis says that government lawyers are now crying foul.

Dennis says Garden City officials have high praise for the project, and are seeking ways to continue the program even if funding is withdrawn.

KDHE Urging Adult Immunizations

August is National Immunization Month, and while kids are getting immunizations before the start of school, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it's a good idea for adults to be sure their immunizations are up to date, as well. KDHE spokesperson Mike Parsons says one immunization required for middle school students is also a good idea for adults who are due for tetanus shot boosters.

That's a Tdap (TEE-DAP) shot, spelled with a "T." Parsons says it's also not too early for people to get flu shots, because they won't wear off before the flu season is over. Parsons recomments calling your health care provider ahead of time, to be sure the flu vaccine is in stock.

New Hybrid Buses to Be Deployed in Lawrence

The city of Lawrence is about to deploy the first hybrid diesel-electric technology buses in the state. The city has purchased three, 40-foot-long buses, and is looking forward to saving money on fuel and maintenance once they’re running. Transportation Director Bob Nugent says riders may not realize they’re in a hybrid vehicle, because of how the buses sound.

The hybrid buses are not going into service right away. Drivers are training on them now, and the official rollout for riders is scheduled for August 22nd.

KS Board of Ed Tables Financial Literacy Proposal

Kansas high school students will NOT have a new financial literacy graduation requirement next year. This week, the State Board of Education rejected an effort to mandate financial literacy courses. However, it's likely the issue will come up again in 2012, when the board carries out an overall review of mandatory courses. Board member Kathy Martin says the requirement is certainly worth consideration:

Martin's board colleague Walt Chappell has been pushing to create a personal finance requirement, saying that it is needed to ensure students are able to make wise decisions with their money after graduation.


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