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Communication is like a ninja sword, you gotta wield it with finesse and strike at the right time to make an impact!

Short Form Content

As a commissioner, collaboration is key. I am proud to have worked with Valley Center, Park City, the Kansas Department of Transportation, and Sedgwick County to complete the $2,809,930 77th and Broadway Intersection Project.


Through bipartisan efforts, my colleagues and I committed $936,643.32 to the project, making the intersection safer for everyone. While I am humbled to have my name on the sign, I believe partnership is about the collective effort.


This achievement is a testament to the power of collaboration and I thank all partners involved for their contributions.


#partnerships #teamwork #intergovernmental #safety #collaboration

Long Form Informative Content

The Maize Solar Project is an inspiring initiative that highlights the potential of renewable energy sources such as solar power. The project not only educates students about the importance of sustainability but also helps to reduce the school's energy costs and its dependence on traditional utility providers.

It's worth noting that the benefits of solar panels extend beyond just cost savings. They also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and reliance on non-renewable resources. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the United States installed 5.7 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2020 alone, which is equivalent to taking over a million cars off the road.

In terms of the Maize Solar Project, the panels are expected to generate enough power to sustain the school for around 40 days out of the year, which is a significant achievement. This equates to approximately 150,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of around 14 homes. Moreover, the solar panels will help the school reduce its carbon footprint by around 150 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

In addition to the cost savings and environmental benefits, solar panels are also known for their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements. Solar panels typically have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years and require little maintenance besides occasional cleaning.

The potential for solar power is not limited to schools or residential buildings. As mentioned in the post, even county governments can benefit from switching to solar power. According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the United States has the technical potential to generate more than 40 times its current electricity consumption through solar power alone.


Overall, the Maize Solar Project is a great example of how individuals and communities can make a positive impact on the environment while also reaping financial benefits. With the continued growth of the solar industry, it's exciting to think about the possibilities for a more sustainable future.

Personal Essay - A Mom Moment

This past weekend was Mother’s Day and over the course of one of my Facebook scrolls I read a meme that stated “You know what mothers want to do on Mother’s Day? A whole lot LESS mothering.” I paused for a moment and thought … “Wow. This is so true.” Mothering is a never ending job. It is exhausting. And sometimes infuriating. There are lessons to teach and lessons to learn and one things for sure… you never stop either. Being the mother of two girls, I have some built in teachers and pains in my you-know-what. But they sure keep me going and help me realize that I have come too far to stop how I mother them.


This past week I’d finally had enough with the slow drain in my bathroom so on a trip to Wal-Mart the girls and I stopped to buy some Drano. When I got to the Drano aisle I started thinking, “this stuff is going to end up in our water supply. There’s got to be a natural alternative to this problem.” That’s when the teen pulled out her phone and googled “natural remedies to unclog a sink full of hair.” What did we find? Well… vinegar and baking soda were the best solution. Knowing we didn’t have either in the house we headed to the baking isle.


At first we came to the baking soda. I picked it up and said, “I wonder if this will clog the drain.” Totally not what I meant but it’s what I said. My daughters started laughing at my ridiculous statement. I mean, we were trying to unclog the drain. Not clog it. But sometimes things just come out a little different than I expected and if anyone is going to catch my mistakes it is my two very sharp daughters.


Next up was the vinegar. And this is where the story takes a bit of a turn. In all fairness to my somewhat scatter-brained self, I want to remind everyone that people learn at their own pace. I know a lot about a lot of things but for some reason, I’ve never learned a thing about vinegar. SO because I’m trying to use a natural remedy to fix this clogged drain, I tell the girls we need to check the label to make sure we know the ingredients in vinegar. That’s when Bayleigh, my 17 year old, almost losing it says, “Mom, it’s vinegar. That’s the ingredient.” She erupted in laughter at my statement. For a moment, I felt very foolish. Like, how did I not realize that? How does my daughter know this? But I don’t? That’s when I just had to laugh. At that moment I realized just how smart my daughter is and just how much my own children are teaching me. But in all fairness again… there is roughly 5-20% acetic acid by volume in vinegar so…. I wasn’t entirely wrong. 


I guess the point I’m trying to make with this ridiculous story about vinegar and my clogged drain is:


First thing, I have now learned more than I could ever imagine about vinegar. I mean who knew it would restore leather, stop reds from running, disinfect cutting boards, clean the air in my kitchen and keep my car windows frost free. The list is endless. 


Secondly, my daughters pay attention to EVERYTHING that I do. Good and bad. Smart things and dumb things. Deep down I know this but this was a great and much needed reminder. When I look back at all the accomplishments and failures, I have to ask myself, “Are you proud of how you handled the things that didn’t go your way?” And if the answer is no, “What do you plan to do differently so that you are proud of yourself?” 


It’s easy to be happy and react when things are good but how do I react when I make a mistake? When I say something that is completely ridiculous? Even in the moments when my daughters are teaching me, when I make a mistake, I am still teaching them by how I react to my failure. By my actions, I’m teaching them it’s okay to fail or it’s okay to not know the right answer all the time. It’s okay to be wrong. Or on the flip-side of that, I could blow up and act like a jerk and not admit my wrong. It’s a choice I have to make. Teach them how to handle it the right way or the opposite.


I have found through the years that allowing myself the ability to be wrong frees me from the constant feeling I need to be perfect. Now, keep in mind, this is a daily struggle for me: the struggle to strive for perfection. But when it works, when I allow myself to stop striving for perfection, I find an imperfect perfection. Anything is possible when “being wrong” is okay.


Lastly, I have also learned though this vinegar lesson that my daughters are a constant reminder to live in the moment. They are a reminder of what it means to find the smallest joys in a mistake about ingredients or a small bag of premium squirrel food. They know what I like, what I don’t like and when to leave me alone. They know me better than anyone in the world and when I’m not feeling all that great, they know how to cheer me up. Best of all, I know that I have a couple of advocates who are always looking out for me. They may be young but they are smart and know more than I give them credit for sometimes.


So in closing remember:

  1. It’s okay to be wrong or make mistakes (because they could be really funny).

  2. Remember the little things. Life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff but cherish the little moments of your day. Those little moments eventually turn to years. And I hope for you as much as I hope for myself that my years are happy and full of small moments that take my breath away.

Importance of regular communication around tough topics.

This morning at our Board of County Commissioners meeting, I made a motion for an off agenda item. The subject: COVID. 

Did I want to make that motion? No, not necessarily. But talking about COVID is our job, so the motion had to be made. 

We should be talking about COVID every single week. At the very least, to get an update in an open meeting around vaccination rates helping to reiterate they are free and readily available. Unfortunately, things are not getting better, and they are bound to worsen with new variants of the virus and flu season upon us if we sit on our hands and do nothing. 

We have to consider health concerns outside of this pandemic. Health needs that require a hospital bed. Cancer, heart attacks, emergency surgeries, the list could go on and on. It is unprecedented to see one diagnosis take up so many medical resources. Unfortunately, COVID has monopolized our health care system. Hospitals around the nation are running out of staff. Some are running out of oxygen. For clarity's sake, I have not heard that a shortage of oxygen has happened here, but we are not immune to the realities other communities face. 

Every community in this nation is fighting an invisible virus. People don't even know they are carrying it. You could have it and not even know it. So what happens when you visit a friend who has an illness they haven't yet shared with you, and you unknowingly pass the virus, and your friend, loved one, or colleague winds up in the hospital? What happens if they die? 

That is real. Call me an alarmist? I call it being a realist. 

This virus is real. Real people are dying of a virus in which they don't have to die. 

Daily, community members send emails discussing freedom and individual liberty. Are they an essential part of the fabric of our nation? Yes. But my freedom and individual liberties do not have the right to cause harm to another person. That is true for everyone else, too. 

Like it or not, the government plays a role in our nation, and one of those roles is to step in with the least restrictive measures when others are causing or have the potential to harm others by their action or inaction. That is the reason we have smoking laws and drunk driving laws. There are restrictions placed on these types of activities because driving intoxicated can cause harm to others. But does it cause damage every time someone drives drunk? No. Can it? Yes. That's why it is restricted 100% of the time.

Talking restrictions downright sucks because I am a firm believer in individual rights. And like the Facebook profile frame that's floating around, I, too, have a healthy distrust of government. But during a global pandemic, as a member of the Board of Health, it is my job to make tough and often unpopular decisions. Moreover, the people of this county elected me to do the work. So I will not shy away from doing the job for any reason. 

Believe me; I am as tired of talking about this as you are. Every single person wants this to be over, but if we keep going down this track of fighting each other, we will only prolong what we all want to end.

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