May 19, 2020 11:01 PM

UPDATED: Injury accident closes portion of US-50 for several hours Tuesday

Posted May 19, 2020 11:01 PM

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — An accident on Highway 50 Tuesday morning sent two people to the hospital.

According to the Reno County Sheriff's Office, at 7:34 a.m. Tuesday, a deputy was dispatched to the 7600 block of East U.S. 50 where 22-year-old Chase Wahquahboshkuk-Kramer of Mayetta was driving a white 2013 Jeep Patriot and passed a 2017 black Honda Accord driven by 42-year-old Elizabeth Touzel of Hutchinson.

The Mayetta woman began driving erratically after passing, crossed the center line and continued into the westbound lane, where she collided head on with a semi. The 2011 semi was driven by 56-year-old Phillip Adams of Orrick, Mo.

Wahquahboshkuk-Kramer’s vehicle then collided with Touzel's vehicle. The semi exited the roadway and ended up in the north ditch. Touzel's vehicle exited the roadway and ended up in the south ditch. Wahquahboshkuk-Kramer's vehicle remained on the roadway.

Wahquahboshkuk-Kramer was wearing her seatbelt. The airbags deployed, and she was trapped in her vehicle. She was airlifted to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

Touzel was transported by Reno County EMS to the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center for treatment of her injuries. She was wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident and airbags deployed.

Adams sustained minor injuries and declined treatment by EMS. He was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident.

Both lanes of U.S. 50 were opened back up around 3 p.m. Tuesday. The accident is still under investigation.

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May 19, 2020 11:01 PM
Austin: Federal unemployment boost could slow state growth


Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — An economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute is concerned that the additional unemployment payments approved as part of COVID-19 relief at the federal level may slow growth at the state level.

"About half of all Kansas workers can receive more money than their prior full paycheck if they stayed home and drew an unemployment benefit," said Michael Austin. "Not only does that potentially set the unemployment rate into double digits, but it pushes back economic recovery into August at the earliest."

The additional $600 a week in unemployment was designed to keep people at home during the pandemic.

"It kind of makes sense, if you think about it," Austin said. "If your employer, or the government, forces you to stay home and not work, at least there are some funds to help you get by. But, if Kansas is intending to reopen, then this relief actually becomes a discouraging burden. Kansas has to retool that unemployment to their reopening plan. Otherwise, it will just discourage Kansans from returning to work. It will limit the ability of businesses to reopen and of course, it will expand the economic recession."

There are ways to encourage work, even while the additional money is available.

"There is a solution I think Governor Kelly and the Kansas Department of Labor can take," Austin said. "They can increase the earnings threshold, so that more Kansans can work and receive unemployment benefits. Currently in Kansas, you can make $270 a week before your unemployment benefit starts being clawed back. Perhaps we should raise it to something like $300 a week, which is what Georgia has done. If it pays to stay home, Kansas should make it pay to work."

Proposals currently in Congress would potentially extend the additional federal benefit.