Snowy owls head south in search of food

While the lack of snow on the ground may have put a damper on the holiday season, it’s something of a boon for those trying to spot a rare sight around these parts. Snowy owls are large birds, about 2 feet tall with a wingspan that can reach up to nearly 5 feet long. And a lack of food in their natural tundra habitat is driving them south to Kansas and Missouri. Mark Robbins, a Kansas University ornithologist, is hoping that if people spot an owl they’ll take pictures and send them to him at mrobbins@ku.edu. He’s particularly interested in ...

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Kansas health department reports first cases of flu, urges vaccination

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Friday that it has identified the first cases of flu this season. The cases were two adults from northwest Kansas who are in the same workplace and who did not receive a vaccination. Five co-workers also were ill with symptoms of the flu. KDHE Secretary and state health officer Robert Moser urges everyone to get a flu vaccination, noting that it’s not too late. “Although flu activity is now low, it normally rises during the holidays before peaking around February,” he said. “Influenza can continue to circulate through spring, and the flu ...

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KDOT warns of delays on I-35 tomorrow

The eastbound ramp between Interstates 35 and 435 in Johnson County will be closed from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 29. The Kansas Department of Transportation warns drivers in the area to expect delays and suggests using alternate routes though the agency will not be marking any detours. Crews will be doing grinding work on the closed ramps. KDOT expects the work to be done within the six-hour window, weather permitting.

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When it comes to meth, stats and officers tell different stories

Look at the statewide numbers, and it’d be tempting to conclude that the methamphetamine scare has come and gone in Kansas. Methamphetamine incidents, which include drug lab seizures and discoveries by law enforcement, have decreased in Kansas in the past decade: from 847 in 2001 to 159 so far in 2011. In Douglas County, such incidents are rare, averaging a little more than three per year since 2006, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. And while the state ranks 14th nationally in such incidents, Kansas is nowhere near neighboring Missouri, which leads the country with more than 1,700 so ...

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When it comes to meth, stats and officers tell different stories

Look at the statewide numbers, and it’d be tempting to conclude that the methamphetamine scare has come and gone in Kansas. Methamphetamine incidents, which include drug lab seizures and discoveries by law enforcement, have decreased in Kansas in the past decade: from 847 in 2001 to 159 so far in 2011. In Douglas County, such incidents are rare, averaging a little more than three per year since 2006, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. And while the state ranks 14th nationally in such incidents, Kansas is nowhere near neighboring Missouri, which leads the country with more than 1,700 so ...

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Highway Patrol reports no fatalities in traffic accidents over holiday weekend

With no fatalities from traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol is declaring that the Christmas holiday weekend was a fairly safe one. In 2010, two people died during the holiday travel weekend. But there were no such incidents on Kansas highways between Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 of this year. There also were fewer speeding tickets and warnings issued. Fewer people were ticketed or warned for failing to wear seat belts. And the number of motorist assists dropped. The number of DUI-related crashes stayed the same as last year at three. And more people were arrested for DUIs this year ...

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5 Questions: A Penny Saved…

Q: What is a good way to start getting a handle on finances? A: Track expenses for a week or two. Doing so need not be difficult. Save receipts and review them, noting expenses in a check register or pocket notebook, or using a computer financial management program to identify unnecessary spending. Q: Why track expenses? A: We have to know where our money is going before we can make changes to improve our financial situation. If, for example, you are choosing a beverage from the vending machine at work each day, ask yourself: “Do you really want to spend ...

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Neighbors

There are still many prayer concerns even during this time of year. Frances Lawhead, Betty Parr, Pat Lee, Dennis Matthews, Shirley Penner, Myrtle Coker, Don Jewett and Karl Beesley's sister-in-law all need your thoughts and prayers. The De Soto Methodist church had a very nice Christmas Eve service this past weekend. It was lovely and the programs had all the songs typed out. My visiting relatives and I all attended the service together. It was so nice to see some people that I hadn't seen in quite a while. Pastor Jan Justice came by our pew to say hi and ...

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County opens Christmas tree drop-off sites

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District will once again recycle natural Christmas trees, using some to mulch trails and others to improve fish habitats at Shawnee Mission Park. Trees may be dropped off for free through Jan. 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the northeast corner of the marina parking lot at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road. Trees also will be accepted at Heritage and Kill Creek parks in Olathe. Trees must have wrappers removed and be free of decorations, especially “icicles,” mylar, shiny plastic or aluminum items. Yard waste will not be accepted. The county ...

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Governor’s plan for managed care raising concerns

Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to have managed care companies provide services for those with developmental disabilities is raising concerns. Gene Kean, a Lawrence resident whose sister is cared for at Lakemary Center, said he believes the quality of her care would be sacrificed by the proposed changes. “If the state gets away with this, it appears some very important functions of local care decision-making would be taken away from those who have the daily intimate knowledge of what is best for their clients,” Kean said. Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer want to overhaul Medicaid, which is the state and ...

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