Disaster areas include Finney County

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 37 counties in Kansas as natural disaster areas due to severe ongoing drought.

"Kansas continues to face one of the worst droughts since the Dust Bowl," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a press release. "The lack of rainfall has had a devastating impact on our crops, and our ranchers are facing severe hardship due to a lack of available feed caused by the drought."

USDA designated Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Nedd, Norton, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, and Wichita Counties as disaster counties.

Farmers and ranchers in the following eight counties in Kansas also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: Barber, Barton, Edwards, Kiowa, Osborne, Russell, Smith, and Stafford.

These counties will now be eligible for important disaster programs, such as the emergency loan program administrated by the Farm Service Agency.

Departent of Health promotes flu vaccine

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated due to the prevalence of influenza.

Influenza or pneumonia has directly caused or contributed to 510 deaths reported in Kansas during the current influenza season since Sept. 1, 2013, and among those, three deaths were directly because of the flu.

Symptoms of the flu include: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and dehydration. The flu also might worsen other chronic conditions.

To get your flu vaccine, please contact your health care provider or the local health department.

Ballroom dance starts Tuesday

The ballroom dance class at Garden City Recreation Commission has changed its starting date to Tuesday. There's still time to get registered. The fee is $55 per couple for the six-week dance class with Al and Linda Miller. Partners and leather-soled shoes are required. To register, call 276-1200 or stop by 310 N. Sixth St.

Literacy, math night planned

Jennie Wilson Elementary School will hold a literacy and math night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The theme for the evening will be Camp Read-a-Lot and will involve camping activities revolving around literacy and math activities. The event will begin with families gathering in the gym to listen to a story.

Families can choose to participate in the following activities during the evening: build a puppet from a story; story retelling cube, building words, game night, gone fishin' for rhymes, reading under the stars, and a S'mores station.

The evening provides students and their parents an opportunity to obtain materials that would help them work together on literacy and math skills at home.