OMC reveals $100 million expansion plan

The new face of OMC: A four-story obstetrics wing scheduled to open in early 2017.

The new face of OMC: A four-story obstetrics wing scheduled to open in early 2017.

Olathe Medical Center, OMC, is getting a $100 million facelift. By the time it’s completed in early 2017, not only will its entry way be different, it also will be the entrance to the hospital’s new four-story obstetrics wing with a Level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

And that’s not all.

OMC officials also revealed to the more than 500 people who attended Friday’s (Jan. 30) Olathe Chamber of Commerce Luncheon that three other construction were scheduled to take place this year on the hospital’s 250,000-acre campus: a free-standing cancer center; the addition of a memory care neighborhood at Cedar Lake Village; and an expanded cardiovascular center.

It’s the largest expansion in the history of the hospital since it first began with modest beginnings more than 60 yeas ago in a one-level building across the street from the Johnson County Justice Center (former Dillion’s Grocery Store) where Walgreen’s is today. Continue reading

Brownback’s budget misses the mark

A blog by former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Duane Goossen served as the Kansas Budget Director for 12 years in the administrations of three governors — Republican Bill Graves and Democrats Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.)

What to do? Income to the Kansas general fund has fallen so low that it no longer comes close to supporting normal, reasonable expenses, and the bank account is empty.

The governor (Sam Brownback) has sent the Legislature a proposed budget to address the situation, but his recommended solutions do not strike at the cause of the crisis.

Here’s the problem: Kansas general fund expenses currently total about $6.4 billion, and those expenses are growing. They will continue to grow. To cover expenses, Kansas needs a revenue stream that is also at least $6.4 billion and growing. But the Brownback tax policies, put in place in 2012 and 2013, cut income tax receipts dramatically. The governor’s own Department of Revenue estimates the loss of income tax revenue to be $886 million in this fiscal year, and more next year. As a result, overall general fund revenue has fallen below $5.8 billion. Under current policy, prospects for that income stream to increase remain slim.

To read the entire blog, click here.

North picks McCartney as head football coach

Chris McCartney has been named Olathe North High School head football coach for the 2015-16 school year. He replaces Gene Wier who accepted a recruiting job with the University of Kansas football program.

McCartney is currently a teacher and assistant football coach at Olathe North. He has been with the school for 18 years, the last 11 as the defensive coordinator.

“I am incredibly proud and excited for the opportunity to lead this outstanding team,” McCartney said. “You can expect to see the long standing success of Olathe North football to continue in the years to come. I’ve been with North for 18 years and we have a very strong foundation which I will continue to build upon. Continue reading

Report: Lobbyists given early look at state budget plans

By The Associated Press

Two lobbyists with past ties to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback received a preview of his proposals for balancing the state budget in an email from his budget director through a private account weeks before Brownback formally outlined the measures for legislators, The Wichita Eagle reported Tuesday.

The Eagle (http://bit.ly/1zsuejP) obtained a copy of Budget Director Shawn Sullivan’s email, sent Dec. 23 through his Yahoo account. Among the recipients were lobbyists David Kensinger and Mark Dugan. Continue reading

Stiffer crime penalties worry some legislators

From The Associated Press

A bill in the Kansas Senate would stiffen penalties for home burglaries, but senators are worried that the measure might further strain the state’s crowded prisons.

Assistant County Attorney for Leavenworth Christopher Scott testified to the Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee on Tuesday that other than murders and rapes, home burglaries touch victims on a deeper level than any other crime.

He said victims are often incensed at what they see as disproportionately low sentencing guidelines that often result in probation even for serial offenders. Continue reading

Kochs to spend $900 million on 2016 campaigns

(Personal note: Thank you, U.S. Supreme Court!)

From The New York Times

The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.

The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million.

To read the full article, click here.

Voters pass LOB issues in Johnson County

The Olathe Public Schools mail-in ballot for the Local Option Budget passed today with 79.2 percent of the vote, according to the Johnson County Election Office.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the election,” Superintendent Marlin Berry said. “Our community has always been supportive of our schools and district and for that I am thankful.”

The Local Option Budget is a no-tax increase proposal that will have a positive impact on every school in the district. The LOB is locally raised funds that can be used for operating expenses, such as salaries and other classroom expenses. Continue reading

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