KDOT briefs Commission on MPO

Representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation briefed Pottawatomie County commissioners Monday on the Manhattan Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Stephanie Watts, MPO transportation coordinator for KDOT, spent much of her time explaining the basic function of the organization.

“It’s an organization that has various jurisdictions,” Watts said. “Whether it’s the county or the city, they come together to form this unified vision of what the transportation network should look like for this region.”

The MPO’s region is expected to be clarified by the end of the calendar year.

“At a minimum it has to be the city of Manhattan, part of Riley County, part of Pottawatomie County,” Watts said.

Over the next six months, local officials will need to sign off on a designation agreement, which officially establishes the MPO.

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A number of internal changes have taken place within the Wildcat Preparedness Region health group over the past few months.

The Pottawatomie County Health Department will now receive the group’s funding, then dispense it out accordingly to other member counties Geary and Riley. That is one of many changes being made in an effort to streamline the work being done by the group.

“It ensures that we’re telling the doctors the same information,” Leslie Campbell, Pottawatomie County Health Director, said. “We’re giving out good information to the citizens and if some disease were to break out we would want to make sure we’re treating it in a similar fashion.”

The Geary County Health Department is being tasked with finding hiring a regional coordinator for the group.

“We’ll be looking for a part-time person soon to do the coordination for the region,” Campbell said.

Funding for the group should be available during the month of July.

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Despite less than conducive conditions, whooping cough has become an issue in the Manhattan area over the past few weeks.

The number of reported cases is well into double digits.

“We have 17 either confirmed, probable, or suspect cases,” Campbell said.

Vaccinations are being made available to Pottawatomie County residents.

“We’re offering some TDAP for adults,” Campbell said. “It’s free since we obtained it through a state grant.”

The health department will offer the vaccine at clinics in St. Mary’s, Westmoreland, Onaga, and Wamego during the month of July.

For more information on dates and times, contact Campbell’s office at (785) 457-3719.