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CORONAVIRUS: Senator Moran gauges impact to local operations in 90-minute Zoom meeting Featured

Numerous local leaders joined Senator Jerry Moran for a special COVID-19 status report meeting Friday. Numerous local leaders joined Senator Jerry Moran for a special COVID-19 status report meeting Friday. US Senator Jerry Moran screenshot

Local business, education and government leaders offered their feedback on the COVID-19 pandemic to Senator Jerry Moran on Friday.

Moran called a special Zoom meeting that ultimately had close to 20 people involved, offering praise at some times and mentioning concerns at others. When it comes to education, Emporia State University President Allison Garrett reiterated plans to have face-to-face classes for the second half of the current summer session and starting the fall semester. She also mentioned ESU's role in developing businesses locally, and she discussed concerns about keeping students safe.

USD 253 Emporia Superintendent Kevin Case says a big challenge was Internet access for students and families.

Emporia's Radio Stations owner Steve Sauder says it's important for education at all levels -- including Emporia Public Schools, Flint Hills Technical College and Emporia State -- to have students in classrooms this fall. He mentioned a recent conversation with his son, Jamie, and with current ESU legislative liaison Don Hill.

Sauder also encouraged Moran and other lawmakers to find ways to balance the meat production market and a recent spike in prices for consumers.

At the government level, 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber said the state is looking to add funding for broadband Internet projects, although the need is greater than the available money.


Emporia City Manager Mark McAnarney thanked Moran for his work on federal stimulus money, and he says the city plant to take advantage of recent stimulus dollars to handle a range of projects, including updates at the Municipal Airport. He also said the economy is "hanging in there" despite possible losses in tax collections.

Emporia Mayor Danny Giefer noted Lyon County's caseload versus most other counties, which is higher than most but significantly lower than the major "hot spots." He also mentioned difficulties some residents have had balancing work and childcare.

Regional Development Association President Kent Heermann says the Paycheck Protection Program caused extra work for banks, but the end result was good for local businesses. Banks have helped businesses in other ways.

Heermann also credited the work of the Greater Emporia Area Disaster Relief Fund, involving the Emporia Community Foundation, Emporia Main Street, United Way of the Flint Hills and KVOE, to help businesses and nonprofits.

Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeanine McKenna says extending the Paycheck Protection Program was good for local businesses. She encouraged an expansion of federal stimulus funding to include Chambers of Commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations.

Emporia Fire Chief Jack Taylor and Interim Police Chief Ed Owens credited recent shipments of personal protective equipment in keeping emergency responders and law enforcement safe from COVID-19 to this point.



Moran says Friday's meeting was the latest in a series of meetings Moran has had recently to gauge whether the federal response effort is on point.

Moran also said his votes in favor of the federal stimulus packages this year have been "out of character" for him after he voted against what he called bailout packages during the Great Recession.

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Last modified on Saturday, 23 May 2020 10:05