Business Buzz

Chad Frey
The Kansan

Library names children's services coordinator

Sara Rickard

Newton Public Library is pleased to announce that Sara Rickard has joined the staff as children’s services coordinator.

In her new role, Rickard will coordinate services to children ages birth to 9. She will work closely with teen services coordinator Sharon Cepeda, who focuses on youth ages 10 and up.

Rickard hopes to create programs and services that are engaging not only for children, but for parents and adult caregivers as well.

“Caregivers are the first teachers of literacy in their children’s lives,” Rickard said. “When you’re talking about little ones, teaching literacy means familiarizing them with words and word play through singing, rhymes, labeling, and just introducing them to books.

“It also means helping them to understand how stories work, and how they can tell their own stories. There are so many learning milestones that happen in a young child’s life before they even start thinking about phonics or decoding written words.”

Rickard earned her master of library science degree from the University of Arizona and has previously worked at Pima County Public Library. More recently, she served as a school library aide at Slate Creek Elementary in Newton.

Rickard is looking forward to starting a regular program of StoryTimes, but due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 transmission, the library is currently holding off on scheduling them.

“We want to do what we can to prevent community spread, especially among young children who aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated,” Rickard said.

Four apply to fill judge vacancy in the 9th Judicial District

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission reports that four people applied to fill a district judge vacancy that will be created when Judge Joe Dickinson retires September 18.

The 9th Judicial District is composed of Harvey and McPherson counties.

Who applied:

David Justin Bravi, of Bravi Law, LLC, and deputy public defender with the Reno County Public Defender’s Office, McPherson

Jason Robert Lane, county attorney, Harvey County Attorney’s Office, Newton

Michael Xavier Llamas, self-employed with Llamas Law, LLC; city prosecutor in Hesston; and municipal court judge in the cities of Walton, Bruton, and Florence, Newton

Matthew Levi Morris, Barton County Attorney, Great Bend

The nominating commission will convened Sept. 10 to interview nominees. 

Nominees for district judge must be: at least 30 years old; a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school; and a resident of the 9th judicial district at the time of taking office and while holding office.

The nominating commission will interview nominees and then select from three to five people whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements. The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint.

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Melissa Taylor Standridge as the nonvoting chair; Thomas Adrian, George “Chip” Westfall, Jana McKinney, and John Robb, all of Newton; Michael Androes, Harris Terry, and Ann Elliott, all of McPherson; and Amie Bauer of Lindsborg.

Kansas DCF Extends Deadline for Pandemic Relief Program

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Children and Families has extended the deadline to Sept. 10  for its independent living pandemic relief program, which provides a one-time benefit to help Kansas young adults ages 18 to 26 who experienced foster care, juvenile justice or tribal authority out of home placement at or after the age of 14.

“The pandemic has been difficult for all Kansans,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said, “and this program provides eligible young adults in need the chance to apply for this benefit and get financial assistance to help them in their daily lives.”

The program was developed after the Consolidated Appropriations Act (PL 116-260) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act (H.R. 7947) was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and provides funding to every state to support youth and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Independent living pandemic relief program recipients must meet the following requirements:

Currently between the ages 18 and 26

Currently residing in Kansas

Experienced out of home placement in the custody of one of the following agencies at age 14 or older:

Kansas Department for Children and Families (formerly known as Social and Rehabilitation Services)

Tribal authority

Kansas Department of Corrections- juvenile services (formerly known as juvenile justice authority)

Other state child welfare system (verification of custody will be required for young adults who experienced custody in another state.)

Not currently participating in the DCF independent living program

Payments for this program will be issued starting in late September.

To complete the program application online, visit Applicants will be asked to upload a copy or photo of their identifying documentation: State photo ID, social security card, or certified birth certificate. Applicants will need to have these documents accessible while completing the application.

SBA Announces National Small Business Week virtual summit 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week Virtual Summit event schedule is set. This annual event, happening September 13-14 honors the nation’s 31 million small businesses for their perseverance, ingenuity, triumphs, and creativity.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced National Small Business Week in a news release last month. The free, three-day conference will take place in a virtual atrium, which will showcase a series of educational panels on best practices for small businesses to pivot and recover in a changing economy.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Resilience and Renewal,” spotlighting the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they build back better from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. NSBW events this year will provide a forum where business owners will be able to get expert advice, learn new business strategies, connect with industry experts, and meet other business owners as they look to pivot and recover.

To register for the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit and to participate in summit workshops, please visit All events will be live-streamed and will use the event hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek.

Details and information will be posted on  as events are finalized.