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Services include VITA, radon kits

December 29, 2020

By Denise Dias

The Johnson County Extension Office will offer a couple of valuable opportunities next month.

2021 VITA

In 2020, Johnson County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers completed more than 1,387 federal and state tax returns. Many of the returns were completed with a mailing and drop-off method due to COVID-19.

The Johnson County K-State Research and Extension will again partner with El Centro to host a VITA site, starting in February. The Johnson County VITA site coordinators currently are waiting for further guidance operating a VITA tax program for 2021.

Dates, times and instructions will be posted on the Johnson County Extension Office website at johnson.k-state.edu in January once more information is available. VITA volunteers look forward to helping residents with their tax returns in the new year.

January is Radon Month

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can have serious health consequences, including lung cancer, when excess levels are present in your home. January is National
Radon Awareness Month. Winter is an excellent time for Johnson County residents to test their homes for radon gas.

Radon is prevalent in Johnson County, so it’s important to test your home.

Radon levels in our county average around 5.3 pCi/L which is above the action level of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA recommends installing a mitigation system to reduce indoor radon levels when homes are confirmed with 4.0 pCi/L of radon gas or higher. Chronic, long-term radon gas exposure in homes increases the long-term risk of developing lung cancer. Residential radon gas exposure is the number one leading cause of lung cancer death in the nation for nonsmokers.

Brian Hansen, K-State radon specialist, will present “Protecting Your Family from Radon” a virtual Zoom program at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. The program is free, but we ask that everyone register at the Extension Office’s website.

Residents can purchase radon test kits through the Extension Office for $10.

This year, free shipping of the kits is being offered to Johson County residents due to COVID-19.

The kit is left in the house for a couple of days, and then returned by mail for testing. If results show high levels of radon, addressing the issue is relatively inexpensive and should be done sooner rather than later. The only way to know if radon gas is present in a home is to test.

Denise Dias is family and consumer science agent at the Johnson County Extension Office. For questions or more information about either VITA or radon kits, please contact her at 913-715-7000 or email at [email protected].