Local and state talking points


Operation Santa Claus now accepting donations

According to the Little Apple Post, the Operation Santa headquarters began the Operation Santa Claus 30th annual fundraiser with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Working with the Association of the United States Army at Fort Riley, the operation aims to raise $120,000 and over 15,000 toy donations this year. The goal of the operation is to support families in need and families with deployed soldiers while providing gifts for those children this Christmas season.

Sgt. 1st Class Brian Frater, non-commissioned officer in charge, said parents will be able to come to pick out two toys for their kids. There will be gifts for all age groups from birth to 18-years-old.

“We’re light on toys in the 11-years-old to 18-years-old age group,” Frater said.

Frater said he hopes for a wide-variety of donations within the $15 to $20 price range in order to appease the many different tastes of the children these donations will go to.

American Concrete Institute recognizes architectural engineering and construction science professor

According to K-State Today, Kimberly Kramer, professor of architectural engineering and construction science, will be recognized by the American Concrete Institute in Kansas City, Missouri in April. In order to be elected a fellow of the association, one must have at least 10 years of active membership and have made contributions to the concrete materials field.

Konza Prairie receives renewed grant

The Konza Prairie, the 8,600-acre tallgrass prairie research station, is home to about 120 active registered research projects in connection with universities and departments across the globe, according to News and Communications Services. It also is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.

The National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research program has granted the prairie research station $6.76 million. This is the seventh renewal since 1980. This brings the total money granted to the research station up to $29 million.

Grant renewals are awarded based on past work and proposed future research.

Preservice teacher receives award for heroic act

When a seventh-grade student at Eisenhower Middle School started choking on a piece of gum, Yunshu Liu, preservice teacher from China, performed the Heimlich maneuver, according to K-State Today.

Liu had noticed the student turning red and asked if she was able to breathe. When the student indicated she couldn’t breath, Liu intervened. The College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer and Eisenhower Middle School Principal Tracy Newell awarded Liu a certificate of outstanding service for her heroic deed.

“After I helped that girl, I just felt that I did the thing that I supposed to do,” Liu said via email. “I believe that every teacher will do the same thing if it happens to them.”

High vacancy rates do not represent poor housing market

According to Associated Press, RealtyTrac released a report that said Kansas has the third highest ranking in vacant foreclosures. Only 72 of the 232 foreclosures were abandoned. This rate, compared to the abandoned 22 percent of the houses being foreclosed in Florida, shows that only the percentages look bad. Sedgwick County has the highest abandonment rate in state.

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