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January 2, 2014     The Oskaloosa Independent
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January 2, 2014
 

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Around the State :: *. * * : * * : * * * * * '* : * :: :: * Ii { 7( I: [:1 /L [)(: !5 0 ')' (:l ;i' I , ? 9 1 ]. I::' ::, l :!; i  L L T 13 l,1 b! I:' fi F' I: I::'. :i; ] b!l: " * ,: Ii: 0 0 [i :!; ti E; L T I.? N ,1/ 5' ;i 5 ;_;;,'-1 - '2 i:,'! , :5 ,li,l,i,,l,,,inllllwl,dl,ilMmslh,,i,l,iI,,lq,,d,l,lll K A L O O S A "Six Months 0 der Than The State Of Kansas" January 2, 2014 Vol. 154, Number 29 6 Pages--$ 1.00 Published Every Thursday Official Jefferson County Newspaper, Oskaloosa, Kansas Brownback proclaims January as Kansas Ra- don Action Month. Kansas Governor Sam Brown- back and the Kansas Depart- ment of Health and Environ- ment have proclaimed January "Kansas Radon Action Month" to help educate Kansans about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage actions to identify and address radon problems in the home. Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils which comes from the breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, radon is diluted to low concentrations, but once inside an enclosed space, radon can ac- cumulate to significant levels. For Kansas Radon Action Month, KDHE will offer free home test kits at over 80 loca- tions across the state. For loca- tions, go to www.kdheks.gov and follow the Radon Action Month link. "Make your family's health part of your New Year's resolu- tion by testing the radon levels in your home," said Governor Brownback. "You can start by getting a free test kit from one of the participating distribu- tion sites during the month of January." About one out of every three radon measurements performed in Kansas are elevated, being above 4 picoCuries per liter. Some areas have higher levels than others, though elevated lev- els of radon have been detected in every county in the state. As many as one in 15 homes across the U.S. has elevated radon levels that often go undetected. "Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked and is estimated to cause over 200 lung cancer deaths in Kansas every year," said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. "Radon is going undetected in homes across our state. All Kansans should test their homes, fix any homes with elevated radon levels and build new homes using radon-resistant methods." Topeka, Manhattan, Law- rence and Salina building codes require new homes to be built us- ing radon-resistant techniques, and additional cities in Kansas are considering this modification to their building codes. Inexpensive radon test kits are available year round at local hardware and builder's supply stores and at Kansas county ex- tension offices. Those tests that reveal high levels can be fixed with simple venting techniques completed by a licensed profes- sional. Homeowners should talk with a certified radon contractor if levels of 4 pCi/1 or above are detected. "Unfortunately, the reality is that radon is everywhere, and the only way to know the radon concentration anywhere, is to test," said Bruce Snead director of Engineering Exten- sion at Kansas State University. "Kansas Radon Action Month is an ideal time to take action to identify your risk by testing your home." A list of certified radon con- tractors is available by calling the Kansas Radon Hotline at 800-693-KDHE (800-693-5343). Additional information about radon can be obtained at www. kansasradonprogram.org and at www.epa.gov/radon. Rep. Jenkins: 'we have to govern' by Clarke Davis The American people are tired of lurching from crisis to crisis, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-2nd District, said on a visit to the Vindicator office Dec. 19. Supporting her vote in favor of the Congressional budget she said, "We needed to demonstrate an ability to govern." In a divided government, nobody gets a hundred percent of what they want, she said, noting that it was not the bill she would have drafted had she had the opportunity, but that it did not violate any of her core principles. "It does not have any tax increase and it reduces the deficit," she said. It did pave the way -- although it's not the final ac- tion- to provide $404 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense facility at Manhattan. Had Congress sim- ply passed another continuing resolution the amount would have dropped to $17 million, the amount in this year's budget. "This is a national security issue and not something selfish for Kansas," she said, "however it will be one of the largest economic stimuli we will see for some time ." While the budget bill doesn't get to a balanced budget like the one the House passed back in April, it does take a tiny step in that direction. "In a divided government, we have to take tiny steps," she said. You had a potty mouth, you smoked, you drank -- U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins teasing House Speaker John Boehner Asked if the days of the two parties working more closely with one another, such as a Dole and a Kennedy compromising to move legislation, were over, she noted that Congress was polarized but that so are the Ameri- can people. "I do think Congress is a direct reflection of the American people," she said."But at the end of the day we have t gvern" We can't cntinue s " people." As she travels the district, Jenkins said the one word that she hears most often from businesses is "uncer- tainty." "They don't know wha oing to happen. They don't know what the tax cm ill be or the regulatory environment and now this  .th bill. They can't plan on anything," she said. Jenkins did project a glii mr of optimism about a tax bill she has been working on for a couple of years as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. She said the bill would have great incentives for ........... investment and would encourage job growth. "It takes time to build bipartisan support but we are getting close -- really close," she said. Jenkins met with Valley Falls Mayor Charles Stutes- man earlier in the day and they visited Heinen Custom Operations and the Aahh Some Blossom flower shop. "At HCO she was reminded that the regulations on small business impede progress. They are simply too great a burden and they only increase instead of ....... iiii;iiiii:; Rep. Lynn Jenkins decrease," the mayor said. "I just wanted her to know the importance of the busi- nesses in small towns and the less intrusive government is the better," he said. In traveling her district, the issues that arise most often are the health care bill, the farm bill, and the problems with the post office. Congress approved a "patch" on the farm bill to get them through January, but Jenkins believes a deal is close and it will pass soon. She opposed cutting six-day delivery by the Postal Service and said the government needs to give the USPS flexibility in fixing its pension plan. She would also shift federal taxes away from programs the federal government should not be funding and put that money toward helping the Postal Service. She was not specific in who or what would be the los- ers, but she believes a lot of programs should be turned back to the states and local jurisdictions. "Someone somewhere along the line just thought the genius of America is in Congress and we'll give them all the power. I think that is just wrong," she said. While representing Kansas, Jenkins is also a top ranking member of her party. She was elected by her colleagues to be the vice chair of the Republican Confer- ence- the fifth ranking person after the Speaker of the House. "We're in the majority and we are charged with run- ning the House," she said. "Presently we are working on our messaging because Republicans are really good at connecting with people's heads but not their hearts," she said. 'Tee must try to explain to the American people why our ideas are good for them.., we've got our work cut out for us," she said. Asked if she liked Speaker John Boehner Jenkins said she has grown to respect and like him although they don't always agree. "I tease him and tell him, 'When I first met you I didn't like you. You had a potty mouth, you smoked, you drank,'" she said. But her respect for him has grown in time. "He's got a tough job trying to keep the train on the track," she said. "He's the most authenic, no-nonsense person you will ever meet." Jenkins is a Holton native now residing in Topeka. She has two children in college, Hayley, a senior at Kansas State University, and Hayden, a freshman at Baker University. She was accompanied to Valley Falls by William Roe, the district director from her Topeka office. Outta high school Six months later and counting by Holly Davis As winter break is in full fledge, many college students are enjoy- ing the time off while spending the holidays with family and friends at home, especially with a full semester under their belts. These three Oskaloosa gradu- ates were able to look back at the past semester at the memories and accomplishments made while also looking ahead to the rest of the school year. They shared their plans with us in May after receiving their di- plomas, all with different plans of how they would make their mark on the world. Whether it be a change in ca- reer or a change in location, here they are now. Taylor Willits has had a positive experience at Fort Hays State University so far and looks forward to the years to come. She said her experience was really fun and even better than she had anticipated. The Oskaloosa graduate said she wasn't sure what to expect when it came to classes, but found that the workload was manage- able. After taking many college classes in high school, Taylor said she went into her freshman year of college knowing how to study and manage the workload. Although she wasn't completely on board at first, Taylor has decided that being a psychology major is something she wants to stick with. Because she was able to get her feet wet by taking a few psychology classes, it made her realize that she really liked the field. She enjoyed her professors and especially the small class sizes. Be- cause she is now far from home, she says it's nice to get away and enjoys being independent. "I love Fort Hays. I love it more than I even thought I would," she said. Zach Butner is following his dreams and is loving every minute of his time in Los Angeles. While set- tling in the big city, he says he has been working three jobs and taking classes while trying to find his niche and who he really is. "It's been crazy living in LA," he said. "I decided I was gonna do my own thing." Zach recently started taking online classes with the Art Insti- tute of Pittsburgh, Pa. Through the program, he is studying graphic design. He is currently employed at Chick-fil-A where he hopes to soon be promoted. He also works for a home improvement telemarketing company, and will soon work as an outside salesman representative for a new company, Free Merchant Clothes. Zach is still dreaming big and looking toward the future at an acting career, but says he has to get financially stable first. He said that it hasn't always been easy moving to the big city, but has had good support and preparation from his family who he said he can't thank enough. "Times have been hard and a roller coaster with ups and downs has hit me, but you can't prepare for something like that. It's just some- thing you have to deal with when it happens," Zach said. He recently saw a quote that he says really describes his life right now. The quote stated, "You never know how strong you are until strong is your only choice." His strong desire to follow his dreams is his biggest motivation at this point in his life. N00!i!iiiiiiiii!i!i!iil Erin Bowser is doing well at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she has made decisions that she says are some of the best she's made yet. Her most exciting decision she says was joining the sorority Alpha Delta Phi because it pushed her to do things she wouldn't have and encouraged her to be more involved with on-campus activities. She said that her new sister- hood has also helped her to adjust to a new campus while also intro- ducing her to new friends. Erin said it is also helpful hav- ing so many friends with the same interests and major, especially older peers who can give advice and guidance on the ropes of school and the dental field she is inter- ested in. Although going into college with the desire to be a dentist, Erin has decided to major in pre- dental hygienics. She made this decision after talking to elders in the field and decided she wanted a flexible ca- reer that would allow for time with family. "I never thought I would be the type of person to change my mind, but I had the best childhood and want to give that to my future children," she said. Erin recalls her mother picking her up from school every day and her dad coming home for dinner. She wants that for her own chil- dren and with the busy schedule of a dentist, she decided that this change would be for the better. Having a good GPA in high school and having good study tac- tics has really helped her, she said, when it comes to the competitive academic school that she is now part of. "I learned that I needed to buck- le down quick," she said after fully realizing how important grades were for the dental industry. "The libraries are always packed." Being from small-town Oska- loosa, moving to a big city was a huge change for Erin. She said it really opened her eyes. She loves being so close to the Plaza and seeing the city lights, but is thankful that she can come home anytime she wants to be with family in the town she loves most. "I like that I can go from the hustle-bustle of a big city to back home where everything isn't so crazy," she said. 201 3 Year in Review Part ! January A fire on Dec. 26, 2012, damaged a good portion of a back corner of Route 92 Quick Shop & Bait, Os- kaloosa, and also caused water and smoke damage to the rest of the store. The fire started during the 10 p.m. hour and is being blamed on a microwave oven in the store's kitchen, according to owner Jean- nine Williams. The Outdoor Channel launched a new reality television series Jan. 9 that features a Jefferson County North graduate. Curtis Coppinger is one of 14 Special Weapons and Tac- tics (SWAT) people to participate in the television show called "Elite Tac- tical Unit." At the time of the filming, Cop- pinger was working as a narcotics SWAT team member for the Kansas City, Me., Police Department. Since the filming, he has accepted a pro- motion to sergeant and is a patrol division supervisor. Coppinger was born and raised in Winchester and graduated from JCN in 1997. He graduated from Benedictine College in 2001. A year later, he entered the Kansas City Police Academy. In a 2-1 vote, Jefferson County Commissioners identified local at- torney Joshua Ney as the person to succeed the Hayes & Hayes Law Firm as the county commission's counselor. Chairman Richard Malm was the no vote. The City of Oskaloosa is battling feral cat issues near the square and is asking for the public's coopera- tion. Animal Control Officer Jared Bammes told the city council he has asked people in and around the post office to stop feeding the cats. The live traps that he has set to catch the animals have been activated, but empty, which indicates to him that someone is setting the animals free. For the second year in a row, the cost of mailing a letter first class will increase by a penny to 46 cents. Postcard stamps will also increase by one penny, up to 33 cents. The new rates become effective Jan. 27. A few dozen Lakeside Village res- idents packed the subdivision's com- munity building last week to voice concerns about a change to water services. At issue is a decision by the Lakeside board in October to require residents who do not have metered water services to install meters. About 14 properties in the village do not have metered services. Those properties were grandfathered in when a 1989 resolution stated that the properties could remain meter- free until the property sold. Southwest Baptist University has hired Craig Schuler as the eighth head football coach at SBU, located in Bolivar, Me. Schuler will be enter- ing his 25th year as a football coach and his 23rd year at the collegiate level. He graduated from Jefferson County North High School in 1981. He and his wife, Alison, have two daughters, Katie and Nikki. Thespian Troupe 6178 from Jef- ferson County North High School garnered multiple honors at the Kansas Thespian State Conference in Wichita this past weekend. The JCN Theatre Quiz Bowl team won first place. The Tech Olympic team took third place in the "Taping Out a Floor Plan" competition. The thespian team also won the Gold Honor Troupe award, the highest level of excellence a troupe can at- tain. JCN's Cassie Lampen's confer- ence theme submission for 2014 was chosen for next year's Kansas Thes- pian Conference. Sponsor Jennifer Morgan-Beuchat was honored with the Kansas Thespian 2013 Innova- tive Educator Award, one of only two given statewide. Jefferson County North High School students Cassie Lampen, Molly Bassette and Jaeleigh John- son have written a play that portrays the personal struggles each of them has faced. The play, "This Is Who I Am," is not meant to entertain but to provoke thoughts in the audience. Bassette's story is about growing up with cystic fibrosis. Lampen related the experience of having a younger brother who has Asperger's syn- drome. Johnson has cerebral palsy. The play was performed recently at See Year in Review Page 3