Minimum-security unit opens

LANSING — The first building in a two-year construction project at Lansing Correctional Facility that will house 512 minimum-security offenders is officially open.

According to a news release sent out Thursday, the new living unit called "E Dorm" replaces the facility's east unit.

The facility is at 301 E. Kansas St., in Lansing.

LCF warden Shannon Meyer said operating a building built in the 1800s presented many challenges.

"We are thrilled to have this new minimum custody housing unit in order to create a safer environment for our staff, our offenders, our visitors and our many volunteers," Meyer said.

Randy Bowman, executive director of public affairs, said in the news release the inmates were transferred to the new unit spanning three days during the week of Dec. 16.

"Our staff strive every day to protect our communities, and to serve our offenders in a way that will improve their lives upon re-entry," said Jeff Zmuda, Kansas Department of Corrections acting secretary. "They also serve each other well, and this project proved that to be true. I am proud of the way our team came together to effectively and safely make the transition to the new facility."

New maximum and medium-security buildings are on track to be completed after the first of the year, Bowman said.

When finished, the project will result in space for 2,400 prisoners, with 1,920 of those being maximum-security inmates.


Kansas Forest Service names new state leader

MANHATTAN — Jason Hartman, the assistant fire management officer for the Kansas Forest Service for the past 15 years, has been named the new state forester for the agency, effective Dec. 29.

Hartman succeeds Larry Biles, who served as leader since 2008. Biles’ recent retirement marked the end of a distinguished career in forestry that spanned four decades.

The Kansas Forest Service serves Kansas citizens with such programs as conservation tree and shrub planting, fire management, community forestry, rural forestry, marketing and utilization and forest health.

Hartman will lead a staff of 30 employees located in the agency’s headquarters on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, as well as several local and district offices across the state.