Monthly Archives: July 2016

August 2 Election Will Focus on Sheriff’s Race

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Barber County voters go to the polls next Tuesday, August 2, for the Kansas Primary Election, which will select candidates for the General Election ballot in November.

And while most primary races in the county are uncontested, the race for Sheriff and County Commissioner from District 3 do have candidates for voters to choose from.

Sheriff candidates are Christina Ricke, James Stevenson, Lonnie Small and incumbent Justin Rugg. All four visited with the public in Kiowa at a forum held Tuesday, July 19, at the Community Building. A good crowd of interested citizens attended the forum, which was sponsored by the Kiowa Chamber of Commerce.

Candidates for Sheriff were the only candidates on the speaking schedule, but the crowd did get to hear from County Commissioner Bill Smith of Hardtner, who gave the crowd an overview of the many issues facing the county, including continued low valuations in the oil and gas industry, which has traditionally made up a big part of Barber County’s tax revenues.

He did praise, however, the completion of the new Courthouse Annex complex located just east of the present courthouse. He said it proved it worth right after opening when it served as command headquarters for the county, state and many, many other fire crews that fought the Anderson Creek Wildfire in March of this year.

Commissioner Smith got a few chuckles when he said he would keep his talk non-political and even introduced Charles Achenbach, who was sitting in the crowd and who is also running for the District 3 commissioner’s job.

The Sheriff candidates then took the podium.

Christina Ricke grew up on a farm near Sharon and presently lives in Medicine Lodge with her son, Grant, and works for the City of Medicine Lodge.

She feels her experience in working with city codes and regulations, time management, and especially her experience working with every day citizens makes her a good candidate for an office dedicated to serving the public.

Although she doesn’t have a law enforcement background, Ms. Ricke said she is confident that she will have no problem learning and implementing regulations pertaining to law enforcement and wants “to make certain that everybody in Barber County is treated equally and honestly under the law.”

James Stevenson, who resides on a farmstead near Hazelton with his wife, Joann. A native of Derby, KS, Mr. Stevenson first worked and retired from the Wichita Police Department, then went to work for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, retiring as a senior crime scene investigator.

Mr. Stevenson said the biggest problem with the current Sheriff’s Office is that they haven’t been trained to investigate crime scenes properly, and he feels his extensive experience in that area would be a big asset to the job.

Justin Rugg, the current Sheriff, is a lifelong resident of the Hazelton area and resides there with his wife, Dooli, who worked at Kiowa District Hospital, and their two children, Emily and Logan.

Sheriff Rugg is finishing his first term in the office and has spent all of his 12 years of law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department.

Mr. Rugg noted that during his past four years in office, arrests have gone up from 398 to 488 and traffic stops are up from 1,452 to 3,299, which, he said, means they are “getting more bad guys off the streets”.

He has initiated other improvements in the department, such as body cameras for deputies. He said his department is always ready to serve the public honestly and fairly and said he can stand on his record as Sheriff the past four years.

Lonnie Small is a Medicine Lodge resident and was formerly Undersheriff for Barber County. He presently works for Barber County Public Works. His wife, Colleen, has worked 18 years for the Kansas Dept. of Transportation.

They have two grown children- Brittany, husband Jordan and son Parker of Dodge City, and son Josh and wife Chelsea and their children Caeden and Madisyn of Medicine Lodge.

Mr. Small, who also worked several years for the Medicine Lodge Police Dept., said he wants to bring back “honesty, integrity and a common sense approach” to the Sheriff’s Office. He said he feels the rural areas of the county have been underserved and vows to increase patrols in those areas if elected. He also said he will work with county commissioners to be a good steward of tax dollars and will always be open to the public he hopes to serve as Sheriff.

ALSO ON the August 2 ballot are two county commission races. In District 3, which covers much of the west part of Barber County including Hardtner, incumbent Bill Smith is facing a challenge from Charles Achenbach. Both candidates are from Hardtner.

In District 2, Paul Harbaugh of Kiowa is running unopposed.

Incumbents for County Clerk, County Treasurer, Register of Deeds and County Attorney are all running unopposed.

Elections will also be held for state and federal representatives and senators and township offices.

Voters in the Kiowa-Hardtner-Hazelton area will cast ballots from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Kiowa Community Building. Residents in the Medicine Lodge area will vote at the new Courthouse Annex.

Election results will be posted Tuesday night on our website “www.kiowanews.com” as soon as received from the County Election Office.

Verda Diel Leaves Lasting Legacy with Scholarships

Dr. Andi Williams, left, accepts $25,000 check from Carl Helfrich, executor of Verda Diel estate.

Dr. Andi Williams, left, accepts $25,000 check from Carl Helfrich, executor of Verda Diel estate.

Verda Diel had a love for education. That makes it no surprise, then, that she left in her will a little gift for the students at South Barber High School. Last week, local CPA Carl Helfrich, who is executor of Verda’s estate, presented a check for $25,000 to U.S.D. 255 Superintendent Dr. Andi Williams to be used for scholarships for graduating seniors. According to Verda’s instructions, the bequest is to be distributed by the Superintendent to students who demonstrate financial need. The funds are to be used at the rate of $5,000 per year until the entire $25,000, plus interest, has been distributed to students. Dr. Williams extended her thanks for the generous gift that will help many students in the future with their desire for a college education.

 

BOE Reorganizes for New School Year

By REX ZIMMERMAN

It was time to reorganize for the new year at the U.S.D. 255 Board of Education meeting on Monday, July 11. The meeting was held at 6:00 p.m. in the District Office.

Board members present were Dooli Rugg, Deb Helfrich, Melissa Simpson, Mike Miller and Mariah Doherty, along with board president Steve Allen. Also present were Superintendent Dr. Andi Williams, 7-12 Principal Brent Shaffer and PreK-6 principal Eric Stoddard.

First action of the meeting was organizing for the 2016-2017 school year. Steve Allen was re-elected as President and Mark Pollock as vice-president. Julie Johnson was then appointed and approved as Board Clerk, Luke MacKinney as Deputy Clerk and Walter Fry as Board Treasurer.

Moving into the regular meeting, the board approved the agenda and previous minutes and approved current bills totaling $258,032.48.

Principal Shaffer gave a short report for the high school and junior high and noted that Drivers Education is completed with 14 students participating. He said that the schedule will be finalized when all positions are filled, and enrollment is coming up soon.

If a foreign language instructor is not found, students may have to take language classes online, he reported.

FFA officers attended leadership camp, basketball camp was held July 11-13, and summer weights continue through the end of the month.

Board member Melissa Simpson reported on a summer food program that is being used in Medicine Lodge. It is funded through the government for any child up to age 18, and the board agreed to look into the program.

Policy Updates

The board next approved Kansas Assn. of School Board policy updates covering several items including: Requisitions; Security and Safety; Memorials, Funerals, and Naming of District Facilities; Emergency Safety Interventions; Staff-Student Relations; Use of Tobacco Products and Nicotine Deliver Devices; Family and Medical Leave Act Plan; Additional Duty; Student Privacy Policy; Truancy; Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery Devices for Students; Weapons (airguns); Reporting to Law Enforcement; Health Screenings; Concealed Observations.

The board next voted to:

  • Approved monthly meeting date as the second Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the District Office at 512 Main Street. In the event of a Monday holiday, the meeting will be held the next day, Tuesday, at same time and place.
  • Approved the 1,116 hour school year, which is currently used.
  • Approved the Peoples Bank and First State Bank as official depositories for district funds. Checking accounts are at the First State Bank and interest accounts at the Peoples Bank. Andi Williams, Julie Johnson and Luke MacKinney will have approved signatures for the Petty Cash and Centennial Account funds while authorized signatures for the District funds accounts are the board treasurer, board president and board clerk.
  • Approved petty cash limits of $800 for the Central Office, $500 for PreK-6, and $1,500 for 7-12 building. Principal Shaffer was approved to administer the high school activity fund and Eric Stoddard the elementary activity fund.
  • Approved textbook and workbook rental fees. PreK through 6th Grade workbooks are $25 and 1st through 6th textbooks are $25. Both workbooks and textbooks for Grades 7-12 are $30 each.
  • Approved student fees. Student Activity Tickets are $30 and Adult Activity Tickets are $40. Family (immediate) Activity Tickets are $100.
  • Approved meal prices. Breakfast costs will be $1.90 for Elementary, $2.10 for Grades 7-12 and $3.20 for Adults. Lunch prices will be $2.60 for Elementary, $2,85 for Grades 7-12 and $3.70 for Adults. All prices reflect a 10-cent increase over last year.
  • Approved the board clerk to pay bills early when necessary.
  • Approved the mileage reimbursement rate of 54-cents per mile.
  • Approved district personnel to destroy old records as per state statutes.
  • Approved all board action which established policy during the previous year and approved the KASB Board Policy book as policy.
  • Approved Steve Allen as SCK-SEC representative.
  • Approved Deb Helfrich as Governmental Relations Network representative.
  • Appointed: Superintendent as federal programs representative and compliance officer; Principals as truancy officers for their respective buildings; Julie Johnson as Food Service representative; Superintendent as free and reduced meal appeals hearing officer; Julie Johnson as KPERS representative; Kansas Assn. of School Boards as school attorney; Superintendent as coordinator for homeless students; The Kiowa News as official district newspaper; Busby, Smith & Ford as district auditor; Superintendent as communications manager, purchasing agent and custodian of records.

Items for board review included the Notice of Non-Discrimination, which will be published, competitive bidding guidelines, 2016-2017 calendar, procedures for requesting public records, Capital Outlay resolution (present resolution is still in effect), immunization guidelines, record retention guidelines, home rule resolution (giving board the authority to interpret policy) and review of scheduled insurances.

In final action, the board held a couple of short executive sessions and were asked to take into consideration changing school board members to At-Large positions instead of the present district election system.

Board members will hold a Strategic Planning Workshop on July 20 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the District Office.

Update to City Council Story

Updating information for the Kiowa City Council story in the July 13 issue of The Kiowa News:

Council voted unanimously to approved the “burn out” competition to be held at the corner of 7th and Miller Street as part of the Labor Day festivities.

Council felt a mill levy increase of nearly 8 mills was too much and instructed City Administrator Lou Leone to rework the figures to keep the mill levy increase as small as reasonably possible. Council will hold a special meeting on July 25 at 8:00 p.m. to again review the budget and finalize it for publication.

Council was also informed that the recent electric issues apparently burned out a bulb in the projector at the Chief Theater. Technicians were scheduled to be in Kiowa on Wednesday to replace the bulb, which costs $1,000, and do other service work if needed. If the work and bulb replacement is not covered by city insurance, it will be paid for by taxpayers. The city owns the building and equipment of the local theatre and pays to keep it all functioning, including some fees associated with running the theater business. The actual business of “The Chief Theater” , however, is owned by a local businessman, who is not charged a fee by the city for using the building and equipment. The city does not have any written agreement with the businessman to cover use of the equipment and building, who is responsible for insurance coverage, etc.

Hospital in Black for May, Big Increase in Surgeries

The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of KDH was called to order at 7:00pm June 23rd, 2016 at the KDH lobby by Board President Brenna May. Board members present were Chantae Simpson (via Skype),Pat Myers, Jeff Miller and Jim Parker. Also present were Margaret Grismer, CEO, Janell Goodno, CFO, Dr. Leal, Melissa Stroh, PA, Kim Balding, Manor Administrator, Tammie Stroud, Manor DON, Judy Schrock, Foundation President and members of the press and public.

Brenna moved item 7)a Lance Freeman – 340B Program to item 3)a. Pat moved to accept the amended agenda; Jeff seconded; motion carried.

Lance-340B Program: Lance Freeman, owner of Kiowa Prescription Plus, presented a 60 days notice of termination of the 340B contract. Lance cited this was due to a breakdown in negotiations with KDH Administration to accept a 340B model that did not make business sense to him.

Janell and Margaret explained that KDH was looking at different models for 340B in an effort to maximize 340B money for the hospital. In light of the budget shortfall and the desire of KDH to limit the tax burden on taxpayers, KDH feels bound to do everything it can to maximize revenue.

After a lengthy discussion, Lance agreed to let the Board table the matter.

Pat moved to approve the minutes of the May 19th regular meeting and the special meetings of May 27th and June 9th; Jeff seconded; motion carried.

The Hospital Statistical Report was presented. May had 4 admits with 22 inpatient days and 6 swing bed admits with 79 days and 590 outpatient visits. The Clinic had 335 visits. The Manor currently has 23 residents.

The payment of hospital and manor bills was reviewed. Pat moved to approve as presented; Jeff seconded; motion carried. There were no uncollectible accounts for May. Jeff moved to approve the bad debt accounts for May; Jim seconded; motion carried. During the month of June KDH is offering 20% off of the bill if paid in full.

The Hospital financials for May were reviewed. The Hospital had a total operating revenue of $498,700, operating expenses of $427,705, and non-operating revenue of $97,222 for a revenue in excess of expenses of $168,358.

May financials for the Manor show a total operating revenue of $123,705, total operating expenses of $136,866, total non-operating revenue of $5,000 for a revenue in excess of expenses of -$6,412. Chantae moved to approve as presented; Pat seconded; motion carried.

Old Business: City of Kiowa Bill: As reported previously, our electric bill will increase because we were being under billed. Lou Leone, city manager, was going to try to work out an organizational rate that would not be so significant an increase. We had hoped the know the new rate by now, but Lou reports that it will take one year to evaluate before the city can make a decision on the rate.

Old Business: Tax Credit Update: Janell reports it was submitted in May and we will know after July 1st if we were granted the credits.

Old Business: Landscaping bids: Janell obtained bids from Gottlob Lawn and Landscape and Younie Lawnscapes Inc. The bids ranged from $1,250 to $23,665. Jeff moved that we cap spending on landscaping at $18,000; Pat seconded; motion carried. Janell recommended that we ask the Foundation for $15,000 and use $3,000 from donations.

New Business: 2017 Tax Budget Hearing: Janell reports that all the info has be sent to BKD for review.

Administrator Report: Physician recruiting: We continue to recruit through the Inline app, Doximity, Arthur Marshall, KU Med School, word of mouth through current temporary physicians, especially Dr. Tomsen, newspaper, and website.

Administrator Report: Dr. Vargas was extended an offer but has accepted another offer.

Manor Report: Tammie Stroud, RN is the new Manor DON. The Manor has given 4 or 5 tours and is using an electronic marketing app. The childcare half-price enrollment continues this month. Children and residents had a picnic at the park recently. Mobile Meals has lots of sponsors for persons who are low-income. The new case mix reimbursement is higher than it’s ever been. They just had a benefit bake sale for the Maas and Thimesch families for medical expenses. The next fund raiser will be working on acquiring a golf cart. They are also working on raising money for Music in Memory, a program for residents that uses music to enhance memories.

Manor DON Report: Tammie Stroud reports they are working on recruiting, training and getting ready for re-survey.

Kim notes that a Kiowa District Manor Notice of Discharge policy has been adopted and all residents have been informed of the change.

Hospital DON Report: At this time last year we had 13 surgeries and this year we have 33. At the end of May we met Dr. Porter’s goal of doubling the surgical revenue and now he is pushing to triple the revenue.

Rural Health Clinic Report: They are transitioning from 30 minute to 20 minute office visits in order to accommodate more patients.

Medical Staff Appointments: Karim Masri, MD, Iram Sirajuddin, MD, Justin Moore, MD, Mary Betterman, MD, Scott Belliston, DO, Samuel Porter, MD and Christie Leal, DO.

The July regular Board meeting and 2017 Tax Budget Hearing will be Tuesday July 26, 2016 at 7:00pm at the KDH Clinic lobby.

At 8:23pm Jim moved to enter executive session to discuss RM/QA, non-elected personnel and contract/legal; Chantae seconded; motion carried. At 11:18pm Jeff moved to enter regular session; Jeff seconded; motion carried.

Jeff moved to approve RM/QA; Chantae seconded; motion carried. Jeff moved to accept the mutual severance agreement with Dr. Leal pending legal review; Chantae seconded; motion carried.

The Board will reconvene Tuesday June 28, 2016 at 7:00 at KDH for an executive session to discuss strategic planning and contract/legal.

At 11:20 Jim moved to adjourn; Jeff seconded; motion carried. The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

James E Parker, Secretary