Monthly Archives: February 2016

Forensics Team Off to Great Start!

Back row: Tyler Martin, Kolby Pavlu, Noah Howerter, Dale Hoch, Caitlin Jacobs, Joseph Bowden, Brandon Baysinger, Kacee Hostetler. Middle row: Grant Cantrell, Idallis Shaffer, Sabrina Hughbanks, Emily Rugg, Slater Blick, Ana Wilhelm. Front row: Savannah Hughbanks, ReAnna Dunlap, Kathleen Martin, Haylie Drake. Coach is Meagan Henry.

Back row: Tyler Martin, Kolby Pavlu, Noah Howerter, Dale Hoch, Caitlin Jacobs, Joseph Bowden, Brandon Baysinger, Kacee Hostetler. Middle row: Grant Cantrell, Idallis Shaffer, Sabrina Hughbanks, Emily Rugg, Slater Blick, Ana Wilhelm. Front row: Savannah Hughbanks, ReAnna Dunlap, Kathleen Martin, Haylie Drake. Coach is Meagan Henry.

The South Barber Forensics Team qualified three more students for State last Saturday, February 20, as they placed fourth overall at a meet hosted by Kiowa County High School in Greensburg.

Emily Rugg & Kacee Hostetler (placed 2nd in Duet: Group Scare-apy), Kacee Hostetler (placed 2nd in Informative: Farm Crisis of the 1980s), and Ana Wilhelm & Tyler Martin (placed first in Improvised Duet Act). They join Kolby Pavlu, who qualified for State Championships when he placed first at the Kingman Invitational tournament on Saturday, January 30. His piece, was titled “To This Day”. It’s a poem about a child who is bullied. He realizes that the bullying made him stronger and at the end he gives a positive message to others who are bullied by telling them that they aren’t worthless.

Students who medaled Saturday were: Ana Wilhelm – 5th in humorous solo; Dale Hoch – 6th in serious solo; Joseph Bowden – 6th in Extemp; Caitlin Jacobs – 5th in poetry; Tyler Martin & Ana Wilhelm – 1st in IDA; Grant Cantrell & Idallis Shaffer – 3rd in duet; Emily Rugg & Kacee Hostetler – 2nd in duet; Kacee Hostetler – 2nd in informative.

In earlier meets this season, Sabrina Hughbanks broke into finals at the Medicine Lodge Invitational tournament with almost perfect scores in her preliminary rounds. She placed fourth in Prose out of forty-nine entries. Due to the large pool of competition, more students qualified for the state tournament. Sabrina performed a humorous “Beauty and the Beast” fractured fairy tale by A.J. Jacobs.

Emily Rugg medalled in Duet Acting at the Pratt Invitational tournament and qualified for State in Humorous Solo Acting at Medicine Lodge with a hilarious piece about Marie Antoinette.

“We’re halfway through the season,” said Coach Meagan Henry, with upcoming meets at Oxford, Cheney, Fairfield, and South Central. The 1A State Championship tournament is held in Salina on Saturday, April 30.


Kiowa Historical Society Re-elects Officers, Making Plans for Pioneer Days April 23 & 24

THE KIOWA Historical Society met for its monthly meeting Wednesday February 17, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kiowa Museum with eleven members present.

All 2015 Historical Society officers were re-elected for 2016 with Bob Hays as President, Lou Stone as Vice-President, Darlene Cloyd as Secretary, and Buford Cloyd as Treasurer. Members of the Board of Directors are Sheri Hurley, Bob and Pam Cox, Jim and Bobbie Parker, Stan and Marcia Michel, Cindy Archuleta, and Gayla Reed.

Plans are now underway for the Pioneer Days celebration which has officially been set for April 23 and 24. This year the Kiowa Chamber of Commerce wants to promote and center the celebration around the Kiowa Museum with an open house and museum related activities taking place on Saturday April 23. There will again be the annual bake sale at the Chief Theater before the parade. The drawing for the Henry Golden Boy American Farmer Tribute Edition .22 lever action rifle will be held that same Saturday at 12:00 noon at the Kiowa Museum. Tickets are still available and will be until drawing time April 23, from any Historical Society member. You do not have to be present to win. All proceeds from the rifle raffle will go to the Museum Building Account at the Kiowa First State Bank.

Deb Roberts donated his tire spreader to the Kiowa Museum when he retired recently from the Kiowa O. K. Co Op Grain Co. December 31, 2015. Deb purchased the used tire spreader when he leased the Phillips 66 Station in 1963. The Historical Society congratulates and wishes Deb well on his retirement.

The Kiowa Historical Society greatly appreciates and thanks those families who have chosen the Historical Society as a designated memorial to honor their loved ones who have passed away. This is sometimes a difficult decision for the family in deciding what would best reflect the wishes and interests of their deceased loved ones.

What better way to honor the memory of a lifelong resident of Kiowa than providing through memorial donations the help needed to preserve the history of their hometown for generations to come. It is a lasting and continuing memorial. Please consider the Kiowa Historical Society.

We invite you to join us at the next Kiowa Historical Society meeting on March 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kiowa Museum.


School Board Extends Principal’s Contract, Hears Valuation Report from Commissioner


The U.S.D. 255 Board of Education met in regular session Monday evening, February 8, with six members present: Mike Anderson, Dooli Rugg, Mark Pollock, Deb Helfrich and Melissa Simpson- along with board president Steve Allen.

In opening business, the board approved bills in the amount of $404,726.24, previous minutes and the agenda.

Tax Revenue Takes a Hit

Barber County Commissioner Paul Harbaugh visited with the board concerning county valuation figures, and the news wasn’t good. Commissioner Harbaugh said that in the 2013-2014 taxing year, a large oil producer in the county, Woolsey Oil, protested its taxes on 26 wells in the county. He said the county and Woolsey had reached an agreement as to the amount of taxes to be paid, but at the last moment Woolsey took the case to the state board of tax appeals. The company won the protest, which will result in the local school district receiving nearly $100,000 less than was projected. Since most of the oil play was in the southern part of the county, the most affected groups will be U.S.D. 255, the local hospital district and area townships.

Commissioner Harbaugh added that this year’s valuation figures should be available in about 45 days or so to help the district with budgeting for the next school year.

The total reduction to the school district for this coming June’s tax appropriation, Harbaugh noted, would be around $98,000. He also said that Barber County has joined the Kansas Legislative Policy Group with several other Western Kansas counties to take the tax issue to an appeals court. He said he would keep the board updated on any decisions.

Weight Room Decided

In a matter discussed at length at the January meeting, an agreement on usage of the school’s weight room facility between the school and the South Barber Recreation Commission was approved after fees and access rules were adopted.

In the agreement, a $25 non-refundable application fee would be required for a pass key card with extra cards to cost $10. All users and guests will be required to sign a release for use of the facility.

Contract Extended

After about a 30 minute executive session, the board voted to extend the contract of 7-12 principal Brent Shaffer for two years.

A search for a new PreK-6 principal also continues, said Superintendent Dr. Andi Williams, with around 22 applications received so far. Application deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 17, and the board plans to start interviews for the position the first week of March.

Food Service Info, P1 Plan

Superintendent Williams also discussed studies into the district’s food service and believes she has found a way to save the district around $35,000 per year while providing better and more enjoyable meals. By joining Opaa! Food Management – which is a partner of the Kansas Assn. of School Boards – the district could receive better food and better pricing which will hopefully encourage more students to eat the school lunches.

Superintendent Williams also said she is doing insurance comparisons for employees to hopefully provide better options.

P1 Group will begin its district master plan study this month. Dr. Williams said she had a list of community representatives she plans to invite to be a part of a focus group at a “working lunch” at the Central Office on Thursday, Feb. 18, from noon to 1:15 p.m.

Building Reports

PreK-6 principal Marcia Cantrell reported on various activities this past month at the building and the professional development of teachers and staff.

Upcoming events include a tour of the building by P1 Group on Feb. 18, and kickoff of the Red Wheel fundraiser project on March 2.

7-12 principal Brent Shaffer was not at the meeting as he was attending a junior high basketball game. His report noted that Scholar Bowl ended its season last week and went 3-6 at Regional.

A student teacher, Mr. McCartney, has begun his duties working with Mr. Roberts. Nineteen students also plan to compete in the HOPL Academic Olympics on Feb. 22 in Pratt.

Forensics is underway and Kolby Pavlu is the first state qualifier as he placed first in poetry at the Kingman meet.

The Drama Class has selected “Murder at the Pie Auction” for its spring play to be held April 9 and 10.

The HOPL High School Music Festival will be held March 8 in Norwich, and junior high cheerleader tryouts for next year will be held on February 27.

In other board action:

  • Mary Ann Risinger, Alva, was approved as a substitute teacher.
  • An auction of district surplus items will be held on Saturday, April 30, in the high school parking lot.
  • Approved use of the district’s bus that has a lift, which it is currently not using, by North Barber County school district on a temporary basis.
  • Heard a report from Dr. Williams noting that the leak in the roof of the Central Office had been temporarily patched.
  • Heard a report from board member Deb Helfrich on a two-day seminar she attended to help school board members with testifying at state or other hearings if needed. She noted the recent proposal to consolidate all schools in a county under one superintendent as an example of when those skills might be needed, but added that fortunately that proposal never made it out of committee. She also showed a video showing what the school district of Eudora is doing with their Facebook page to help keep patrons aware of what is happening in the legislature.and urged citizens to contact their state legislators with their concerns.

Utility Billing Dates to Change

New linemen Clay Nicholson, left, and Dusty Robinson.

New linemen Clay Nicholson, left, and Dusty Robinson.


City of Kiowa electric customers will see a slight change in their billing dates as a result of action taken at Monday night’s monthly meeting of the Kiowa City Council.

Council passed Ordinance No. 427 which calls for utility bills to be out by the 15th of each month, with the due date set for the 25th of the month. Cutoff would be 10 days after the due date. City Clerk Marlo Rugg said basically the ordinance will just move everything back about two weeks.

The change was needed to better align the city with the billing cycle of KMEA’s billing cycle, which is the city’s new electric supplier.

City Administrator Lou Leone told council members that Western Farmers and KMEA have reached a verbal agreement regarding the Facility Maintenance Agreement, which will allow the city to shift providers to KMEA. The city is also working with EMG consultant Greg Wright on rates so the city can bill properly once the transition is made. Changes in the billing cycle will take effect this month.

Bills, Reports, Hirings

In opening action, council approved agenda and previous minutes, including a special meeting on Feb. 4 where two journeyman linemen were hired for the city’s electric department. Dusty Robinson and Clay Nicholson were on hand at Monday night’s meeting to meet council and the public.

In a related matter, Lou Leone said that the cities of Attica and Isabel have both been approached about forming an electric service pool to share equipment and employees. He noted that Attica, for instance, has the necessary equipment to set electric poles, while Kiowa now has the skilled technicians. The goal, he said, is to reduce the costs of maintaining three separate electric departments while providing customers first class service.

Council also approved expenditures and reports from the city superintendent, police department and Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission approved a carport for the residence at 9th and Chatham.

Police Chief Steven Johnson reported that two home burglaries have been reported recently in Kiowa, as well as several thefts outside the city limits. The city administrator also advised residents with WiFi internet service to be sure and have password protection to prevent someone from driving by and hooking up to your internet service.

Budget Year In Review

The city administrator next gave an end of year budget review which actually had some good news in it.

Mr. Leone said that the Sewer Fund, which received a budget amendment at the end of last year, will see a carry over of around $7,500 due expected expenses that did not occur. The Water Fund, which also had a budget amendment, also had less than expected expenses but still would have needed an amendment.

The Electric Fund was under spent last year by approximately $216,182 and the General Fund has a remaining budget authority of $54,878, but he added that all the amounts of the various budgets are subject completion of the audit later this month. Mr. Leone added that corrective action has been taken for the Water Fund to help keep it within the budget.

Administrator Items

Lou Leone told the council that he has identified seven city vehicles that can be removed from the city’s insurance and another that will be retired, saving the city around $2,300 per year.

He also received approval to attend the League of Kansas Municipalities budget class on March 11 in Pratt. Cost is $75 plus mileage.

Mr. Leone reported that staff has been reviewing plans to conduct irrigation out of the southern wastewater lagoon at select times of the year with the goal of reducing stress on the berms which will extend the life of the sewer ponds.

In final action, council voted to donate the Community Building for Project Prom on April 16th and approved expenses for City Attorney Laurel McClellan to attend the Rural Water District Meeting in March.

Councilman Russ Molz had questions about barking dogs and it was noted there is a city ordinance covering the issue. Councilman Tom Wells also asked if the city is prepared to have refugees come to town, feeling the issue should be brought up “just in case” it happens. Council also held a pair of executive sessions for employee evaluations and to discuss business which contains confidential data of second parties.


Kiowa Chamber has Busy Year Planned for 2016


The Kiowa Chamber of Commerce kicked off a new year as it elected officers and started planning events for 2016. The meeting was held Tuesday, January 12, at The Sideline.

Janet Robison and Cindy Archuleta were elected Co-President for the Chamber while Pam Cox was re-elected Secretary and Bob Cox was re-elected as Treasurer. Bob Hays was again named as Chamber Historian. Members of the Board of Directors are Faye Conaway, Bob Pedigo, Bill Watson, De Coyle, Nicole Kraft, Shawna and John Schupbach, Keith Rathgeber, Roger Robison, Laurie Hiltner, Carol Meyer and Deb Cox.

Some of the upcoming events planned for 2016 are the Easter Egg Hunt and games on March 26, Labor Day activities on Sept. 5 and the Christmas Open House on December 4. Pioneer Days will also be held in the Spring but dates haven’t been established as of yet.

More Lights Planned

Chamber members also discussed upcoming projects for the year which include adding more Christmas lights to the downtown Centennial Park as they seemed to be enjoyed by the community. The Chamber also thanked all the businesses and groups that decorated the light poles for the holiday season. They said several people commented on how festive they looked.

The Chamber is also beginning its 2016 dues collection soon. It was noted that Labor Day alone takes over $3,800, but with dues, donations and volunteers it was again a huge success last fall.T