May 21, 2020 11:41 AM

Kansas Gas Service encouraging LIEAP applications for those who qualify

Posted May 21, 2020 11:41 AM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — As many Kansans are facing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas Gas Service is encouraging customers to take advantage of the $900 million the federal government recently released to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.

"The LIEAP program application period in Kansas has been reopened," said spokesperson Dawn Tripp with KGS. "May 29 is the deadline. This is really targeting applicants who may have been denied after December 16, 2019, the first application period."

Applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills and income eligibility requirements are set at 130% of the federal poverty level.

"We're also targeting those people who find themselves now impacted by COVID-19," Tripp said. "Maybe they've never applied for assistance before, but due to the pandemic, they are experiencing difficulty."

The level of benefit varies according to household income, number of people living in the home, type of residence, type of heating fuel and utility rates.

"In Kansas, approximately $9.3 million came to the state," Tripp said. "It's really about spreading the word that those funds are available."

To apply, visit www.lieap.dcf.ks.gov.

Continue Reading Hutch Post
May 21, 2020 11:41 AM
Reno County Health Department ready if further response required

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Reno County Health Department Director Nick Baldetti believes his department is strong in the areas it needs to be for any further COVID-19 response required.

"This environment that we've transitioned into now, specifically for Kansas and for Reno County is just that, a heavy reliance on our public health infrastructure and our ability to do case contact tracing and disease investigation and epidemiology," Baldetti said. "Honestly, that's what Public Health does. It's kind of our bread and butter."

Reno County is devoting more resources toward epidemiology right now.

"Traditionally, we've had one academically trained epidemiologist," Baldetti said. "Up to this point, one has kind of been able to handle the load pre-COVID, if you will. Since this has kind of begun to evolve over the last number of months, we have an academically trained epidemiologist, a senior epidemiologist and then we have an epi team now that is overflow, in terms of the case contact tracing if we should be put into a position where we have a number of active cases."

Policymakers are still overseeing the process, as well.

"Communications and conversations continue to happen with the Board of County Commissioners who also act as our Reno County Board of Health and our County Administrator, who have all been poised to reassess the resources that we have, should we need to, rather quickly, as well," Baldetti said. "I feel confident from that standpoint in terms of our infrastructure from a Public Health perspective to respond to what we need to do."

There are no active cases of COVID-19 with laboratory confirmed diagnosis as of Thursday morning.