Faith news

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has information about churches, Masses, and reflections, at https://www.facebook.com/archkck.

Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King Catholic churches will hold Masses on Sunday, Aug 1. For more information, visit the churches’ websites or Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/Christ-the-King-Parish-KCKS-1392808997677579 and https://www.facebook.com/BlessedSacramentkck.

Bonner Springs United Methodist Church, 425 W. Norse Ave., will hold a Community Blood Center blood drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, in the fellowship hall. For more information or to make an appointment to donate, visit esavealifenow.org.

Casa – Worship House Christian Church, 5217 Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, Kansas, will have Sunday services at 11 a.m. Aug. 1. See details at www.facebook.com/casadealabanzaKCKS. For more information, visit Facebook @casadealabanzaKCKS.

Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, 9301 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas, will hold a Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 1. See details at https://www.facebook.com/ORMBCKC/ or http://ormbc.org/.

Open Door Baptist Church, 3033 N. 103rd Terrace, Kansas City, Kansas, will have services in person at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, and livestream at https://www.facebook.com/opendoorkc/ and https://www.opendoorkc.com/. The church is planning a Vacation Bible School at 6 p.m. Aug. 2-6. It is for age 4 to fifth grade. The theme is “Rocky Railway.”

Our Lady and St. Rose Catholic Church, 2300 N. 8th St., Kansas City, Kansas, will hold a Mass in English at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1. For more information, see https://www.facebook.com/ourladyandsaintrose.

Stony Point Christian Church, 149 S. 78th St., Kansas City, Kansas, will have services at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1. Services also will be livestreamed on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StonyPointChristianChurch. Sunday school will be at 9 a.m.

St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1086 N. 94th St., Kansas City, Kansas, will hold Mass in person and online for Sunday, Aug. 1, at https://www.facebook.com/StPatrickKCK. St. Patrick will have a Community Blood Center blood drive from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. For more information or to make an appointment, visit esavealifenow.org.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1300 N. 18th St., Kansas City, Kansas, will continue with its in-person service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1. The service also will be available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsKCK/.

Sunset Hills Christian Church, 6347 Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, Kansas, will have services on Sunday, Aug. 1. For more information about this Sunday’s plans, visit the Facebook page of Pastor Mike Barnett, https://www.facebook.com/mike.barnett.528. Services are also provided through checkout of DVD or SD Card and can be sent by email upon request. For more information, see https://www.facebook.com/sunsethills.christianchurch.

Wyandotte United Methodist Church, 7901 Oakland Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, will have an in-person worship service at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1. A video of the service will be at https://www.facebook.com/Wyandotteumc.

Information about other church services in Wyandotte County may be available from the church’s social media page.
To send in items for the Faith News, email information to news@wyandottedaily.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Who can tell you to wear a mask in Kansas as COVID surges? It’s complicated

As the delta variant pummels Kansas, there’s confusion about who has the authority to issue pandemic restrictions that could curb the spread of COVID.

by Abigail Censky, KCUR and Kansas News Service

Topeka, Kansas — The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has 84 of the 105 counties in Kansas caught in a regional hot zone.

Meanwhile, more than half of all eligible Kansans are not vaccinated.

That leaves Gov. Laura Kelly faced with whether to use emergency powers to fight the resurging public health crisis even as that authority remains in legal limbo.

A Johnson County judge’s order found a new law limiting her emergency powers flawed. While that case awaits the outcome of appeals, Kelly has yet to take forceful action in response to the resurging pandemic — like mask mandates that could slow the state’s economic recovery and that would surely draw strong resistance.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported more than 2,000 new COVID cases since Monday, 99% the result of the new ultra-contagious delta variant.

But on Wednesday Kelly stopped short of issuing another statewide mask mandate. Instead, she chose to coax.

Even vaccinated Kansans, she said, ought to wear masks indoors in 84 of Kansas’ 105 counties. Her guidance mirrored earlier advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She did require most state workers to wear masks on the job.

“I’m as frustrated as any other vaccinated Kansan,” Kelly said. “I feel like I did my part. And one of the rewards of that was not having to wear a mask.”

“But that option has now been taken away,” she said, “because of the delta variant and how much more contagious it is, and how few Kansans unfortunately, have gotten vaccinated.”

State employees unable to social distance at work and visitors at state and federal buildings will be required to wear masks beginning Monday. But for all other Kansans, the recommendation is toothless.

That’s largely because over the course of the pandemic, the conservative supermajority in the state Legislature passed laws shifting the state’s pandemic response to local county commissions, hamstringing the ability of Kelly and local health officials to respond.

In late March, the governor compromised with state lawmakers, agreeing to give up some of her power. When she issued another statewide mask mandate, a panel of state lawmakers voted it down 5-2. The number of counties with mask mandates dropped from 57 in February to seven by early April.

That was, in part, because the new law required speedy judicial review for anyone with a grievance of a mask policy or restriction issued by a school board or local government. In the case of a disagreement between a parent and a school board, a court had to hold a hearing on the issue in three days, and issue an order within seven.

Kelly’s power atrophied so greatly under the law that Republican leaders were able to supersede her requests to extend the state of emergency in early June.

However, some power could be restored if a Johnson County judge’s ruling that deemed the law unenforceable stands.

Johnson County District Judge David Hauber ruled the Legislature was stepping on the toes of the judicial branch and depriving local governments of due process.

“It is the ultimate legislative stick intended to goad and/or supplant judicial rules and functions,” he wrote. “It promotes the equivalent of legal anarchy.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has said he’ll appeal the ruling.

Schmidt contends the ruling prompted “unnecessary and disruptive confusion,” potentially making it difficult for the state to respond to a future disaster emergency. He said it “invited the very sort of ‘legal anarchy’ that troubled the court.”

That court fight has left confusion about the power of the governor or local public health officials to impose rules aimed at combatting the pandemic.

In her Wednesday press conference, Kelly deflected questions about whether she thought local health officials had the authority to respond to the pandemic.

“I’m gonna leave that to the local units of government and the school boards to decide how they want to interpret what the judge’s ruling does,” Kelly said.

A later statement said, “Our office does not want to speculate until a decision is reached by the Kansas Supreme Court, which we anticipate will happen soon.”

Dennis Kriesel, executive director of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, said that the district court decision likely doesn’t apply statewide.

“We already know that the attorney general has submitted the appeal,” he said, “so I’m assuming we will get a statewide decision in a few months.”

Jay Hall, general counsel with the Kansas Association of Counties, agreed.

“Until the appellate courts rule,” Hall said, “we don’t have any sort of statewide established standard because another court in the state could rule differently than the judge in Johnson County did.”

Local health officers can do things like issue a mask mandate and limit the size of gatherings with or without the law. But the law struck down by the Johnson County judge would require those health officials to first get permission from their county commissions.

“In terms of the ability to issue orders we have more flexibility now than we did two months ago,” Kriesel said. “That being said, I don’t think we’re going to see nearly the amount of aggressive ordering that we saw in the fall of last year because of the backlash.”

Regardless of who has the authority to respond, Kriesel said, public health officials are looking for political cover.

“You could probably, on one hand,” he said, “count the number of local health officers that would be willing to issue an order without knowing what their commissioners’ stance was.”

Abigail Censky is the political reporter for the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @AbigailCensky or email her at abigailcensky (at) kcur (dot) org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.
See more at
https://www.kcur.org/news/2021-07-30/who-can-tell-you-to-wear-a-mask-in-kansas-as-covid-surges-its-complicated

3rd District could receive $15 million for community projects

The U.S. House recently approved $15 million for projects sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the 3rd District.

The projects include $1 million for the University of Kansas Cancer Center, to purchase imaging equipment; $500,000 to start the Upper Turkey Creek Levee project in Merriam; and $1.9 million to purchase equipment for the Automation Engineering Technology Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Other projects approved by the House: $4 million for maintenance on infrastructure on the Fairfax-Jersey Creek Upper Levee, protecting more than 120 businesses from flooding; and $3.4 million for three economic development and green space initiatives in Kansas City, Kansas, including the 6th Street bike and heritage trail, Sumner area green corridor and Klamm Park Trail.

The projects now go to the Senate for approval.

“My job is to advocate for the Third District in Washington, and I’m proud to announce many of our communities’ priorities are one step closer to getting federal funding—from fixing our flood infrastructure to training the next generation of our workforce to bringing cutting edge medical technology here to Kansas City,” Rep. Davids said in a news release. “While the individual projects will benefit from these federal resources, they’ll also help our entire community. Each one will set the foundation for sustainability and economic growth for decades.”

The House passed seven FY2022 appropriations bills, fulfilling Davids’ complete funding request for $1 million to purchase an advanced imaging machine at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. KU Cancer Center serves thousands of patients in Kansas who are battling cancer and holds an international reputation as a leader in the development of cancer drugs. Obtaining this cutting-edge technology with federal funding would not only accelerate cancer research at KU Cancer Center, but also advance healthcare services across the state.

“This cutting-edge technology will help us better understand how cancerous tumors grow and spread and will be a critical tool to monitor tumor response to novel agents developed in our drug discovery program,” said Dr. Roy Jensen, vice chancellor and director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, in a news release. “The imaging station will not just serve the University of Kansas Cancer Center. It will be available to every scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center campus and other institutions, elevating our region’s position as a powerhouse of biomedical research excellence.”

The House also passed funding for the first stages of the Upper Turkey Creek Levee project, a longtime priority of the 3rd District and the city of Merriam. Davids’ federal funding request would allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin design and analysis on the project, which will eventually remove Downtown Merriam from the FEMA floodplain, improving safety, encouraging climate resilience, and allowing the city to move forward on long-awaited development efforts.

“I am grateful to Rep. Davids for bringing attention to this project, which has been a priority for Merriam for years and is really critical to our local economy,” said Chris Engel, Merriam city administrator, in the news release. “The risk of flooding prevents reinvestment by existing businesses, has driven away potential new business interest in our downtown area, and threatens residents’ homes. Rep. Davids’ federal funding request would kickstart efforts to move downtown Merriam out of the floodplain entirely, improving safety and attracting development.”

“It’s important to think broadly on the impact of federal funding for flood control projects: we are talking about protecting thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, and priceless peace of mind for the residents and business owners,” said Tom Kimes, president of Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition (MOARC). “Rep. Davids has been a champion for the Upper Turkey Creek project on the federal level, which would have a significant impact on the Merriam area.”

“The Kansas City District Corps of Engineers has been in partnership with the city of Merriam for a number of years regarding flood risk reduction efforts along Upper Turkey Creek, and we recognize the need for further evaluation in the area,” said Col. Travis Rayfield, USACE-Kansas City District commander. “We look forward to working with the city and other stakeholders to implement solutions that will significantly reduce flood damage and risk to life safety due to flash flooding.”

This year, the House Appropriations Committee created a new opportunity for members of Congress to request federal resources for up to 10 projects with demonstrated community support. Out of hundreds of bipartisan submissions, eight Davids-requested projects were advanced to the Senate. Each project was submitted in tandem with local officials and selected for its potential to improve health and safety in the community, tackle climate change, and bring economic opportunity to the 3rd District:

• $1 million to purchase a VIS/Quantum X2 Ultra-High-Resolution Imaging Station for the University of Kansas Cancer Center, enhancing the state-of-the-art research and treatment facility.
• $500,000 to begin removal of downtown Merriam, Kansas, from the floodplain through the Upper Turkey Creek flood risk management project, allotting the maximum amount for this stage of the project.
• $4.8 million purchase a backup engine generator at WaterOne’s Ralph Wyss Pumping Station, serving over 400,000 customers in Johnson County and improving emergency preparedness.
o Davids toured WaterOne’s Ralph Wyss Pumping Station earlier this month to learn more about the potential generator’s impact.
• $1.9 million to purchase equipment for the Automation Engineering Technology Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, allowing students to train on real-life automation equipment as they prepare to enter the workforce.
• $4 million to perform needed maintenance on critical infrastructure on the Fairfax Jersey Creek Upper Levee, protecting 120+ businesses in Kansas City, Kansas, from flooding.
• $3.4 million total across three economic development and green space initiatives in Kansas City, Kansas: the 6th St. Bike Blvd. and Heritage Trail Connection, the Sumner Area Green Corridor, and the Klamm Park Trail.

The appropriations bills now advance to the Senate.