Category Archives: News

NOTICE- The Barber County Treasurer’s Office will not be able to renew driver’s licenses on Wednesday, October 25th, as new equipment is being installed that day.

Pairings Released for Sub-state Volleyball

Pairings have been set for the 1A, Div. II Sub-state Volleyball Tournament to be held this Saturday, Oct. 21, at South Barber High School.

Argonia (30-5) is the top seed while South Barber (24-9) will be the second seed. Both teams received first round byes.

Attica (19-16) is seeded fourth and will open the tournament at 2:00 p.m. against fifth seeded South Haven (9-19). The winner will play Argonia in the semifinals.

Following the Attica/South Haven match will be third seeded Cunningham (22-12) vs sixth seed Ashland (7-24). That winner will face South Barber in the fourth match of the day.

The overall champion will advance to the 1A, Div. II State Tournament Oct. 27-28 at Fort Hays State University.

Council Hears About “Big Kansas Road Trip”, Recognizes Employees at October Meeting

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council recognized long time employees and heard a report from the Chamber of Commerce about upcoming events in town at its monthly meeting on October 9. Council members present were Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz, Brian Hill, Tom Wells and Mayor Brandon Farney.

In opening action, council approved the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment. Related to bills, City Administrator Lou Leone said that a few of the cities that provided power utility help for Kiowa after the severe windstorms did not charge for labor, just for their expenses, and council thanks them.

Mr. Leone also said that the city budget overall is 4.8% below budget heading into the final months of the year.

Big Kansas Road Trip

Kiowa Chamber of Commerce co-presidents Janet Robison and Cindy Archuleta next visited with council to inform them that Kiowa and Barber County will be featured along with Comanche and Kiowa Counties next spring as part of the first “Big Kansas Road Trip”. The event is replacing the former Kansas Sampler Festival and meetings have been held in Wilmore, KS, which local chamber members have attended.

The idea is to get people “hooked on exploring Kansas” and there is lots to explore in the three counties that will begin the tour. Dates are set for May 3-6, 2018 and the hope is that a large number of folks will come to Barber County, including Kiowa,

“It’s a great way to show our town off,” said Mrs. Robison, and she hoped the whole town would get involved, including Hardtner and Hazelton as well. She said they have been working with Medicine Lodge on a list of events and activities for the event and will keep council informed.

Council was also provided information on the Fall Fest planned for Sunday, October 29, from 2-5 p.m. and the chamber requested that 6th Street just east of the First State Bank be closed so that activities could be held there.

Mrs. Robison also praised the city employees for their efforts in getting the town cleaned up after the storms so that the Labor Day Celebration could be held.

12 Street Boundaries

The city has had problems with drainage in the east part of town ever since the railroad tracks that ran adjacent to 12th Street were abandoned and the tracks pulled. The city has now had 12th Street surveyed to set the exact boundaries of the street so that work can begin to help solve the drainage problem.

The survey also revealed that there is property along the east side of the street that can be claimed by property owners adjacent to it. At present, it is not claimed and is not on the tax rolls.

The city administrator said property owners along the street would be notified of the additional property, but they would have to go through the process of claiming it themselves.

Employees Recognized

Council recognized three employees who have worked the longest for the city in a special ceremony. Shon Webster has worked for the city for 23 years and is presently city mechanic and Refuse Coordinator. Gary Johnson is a 22 year employee and serves as City Superintendent. Ron McKitrick has worked 10 years for the city as general laborer and assistant to Shon in the refuse department.

In other action, council:

  • Heard from Jenny Egging, an engineer with EBH & Associates out of Pratt as she introduced the company and told of the many engineering services her company can provide.
  • Decided not to have a trash pickup day this fall due to the large work load the city crew has already had this year.
  • Discussed the city’s responsibilities on the Recreation Commission with the city administrator to study the issue further and report back next month.
  • Passed Resolution No. 284 to help conclude the USDA Rural Development grant the city has applied for.
  • Gave approval for the city administrator to donate 80 hours of his sick/leave time to another employee who is out on medical leave a little longer than planned.
  • Thanked the Methodist Youth for painting parking lines and curbing on Main Street.

For the Administrator’s Report, see last week’s newspaper.

Taylor Pollock Earns Trip to State Tennis

Taylor Pollock

South Barber junior Taylor Pollock took 6th place in singles play on Saturday, October 7, to earn a trip to this weekend’s 3-2-1A State Tennis Championships in Prairie Village, KS.

Taylor, daughter of Mark and Krista Pollock, will take an 18-12 record to State, which will be played at the Harmon Park Tennis Complex in Prairie Village. The meet is hosted by Kansas City Christian High School.

In opening play at Regional, Taylor defeated Graves of Cimarron by set scores of 6-3, 6-1. She next faces Sydney Roe of Kingman, who ended up taking second place, and fell by scores of 6-4, 6-1.

She next faced Friesen from Meade HS and won an exciting match as she dropped the first set 4-6 but roared back to win the next to sets by scores of 6-4, 6-3. That put her in the match for 5th place against Jacki Endicott of Ashland. She lost the match 6-1, 6-1 but still earned a trip to State with her 6th place finish.

South Barber’s other singles player, Savannah Hughbanks, lost in the first round of play to Osborne of Kiowa County by scores of 6-3, 7-5.

Sabrina Bellar of Conway Springs won the Regional singles title.

In doubles play, the doubles team of sophomores Takira Blick and Malayna McKitrick came into the tournament seeded 10th and lost their opening match to Hawley/Moffitt of Cimarron in a close match by set scores of 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker), 2-6, 10-8.

The other Lady Chieftain doubles team of freshma Allie Hoch and junior Haylie Drake had the tough task of facing the top-seeded team of Wolke/Koester of Conway Springs in their opening match and lost 6-0, 6-0. The Conway Springs team went on to take first place.

South Barber is coached by Katie Hughes.

Team scoring was led by Conway Springs with 25 followed by Kingman with 10, Meade 7, Chaparral 6, Ashland 4, Cimarron 3, South Barber 2 and Kiowa County 1 point.

 

SBHS Homecoming Royalty

Royalty pictured above (left to right) are sophomores Zane Lyons and Adrienne Allison, juniors Fernando Alvarez Fernandez and Ines Jakob, seniors Slater Blick and Kaleigh Velasquez, seniors Joe Bowden and Queen Idallis Shaffer, and freshmen Tyler Schupbach and Sterling Rector.
Kindergarten helpers pictured in front (left to right) are Bradley Cropp, Jancey Goodno, Declan Quick, and Janda Goodno.

Homecoming Queen Idallis Shaffer

Barber County Man Sentenced to More Than 19 Years in Prison for Child Sex Crimes

MEDICINE LODGE – (September 26, 2017) – A Barber County man was sentenced today to more than 19 years in prison for sex crimes against a child, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Robert E. Livi Pruitt, 26, pleaded guilty in July to one count of attempted rape, one count of aggravated intimidation of a victim and one count of contributing to a child’s misconduct. Judge Francis Meisenheimer sentenced Pruitt to 231 months to be served in the Kansas Department of Corrections. The sentence is to run consecutive to the Jessica’s Law life sentence Pruitt is currently serving.

The crimes were committed in May 2012, before his Jessica’s Law conviction. The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Assistant Attorney General Lyndzie Carter of Schmidt’s office prosecuted the case.

Council Continues Work on Water System Grant, Passes Ordinances, Employee Handbook Changes

By REX ZIMMERMAN

THE CITY’S planned water system replacement project and ordinances topped the agenda of the Kiowa City Council Monday evening, September 11, as it met in regular session. All board members were present- Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz, Tom Wells and Brian Hill- along with Mayor Brandon Farney.

Public Meeting

Prior to the regular council meeting, a public meeting was held as part of the city’s process to hopefully receive funding from USDA to help replace the water system in Kiowa, especially the 14 miles of piping from Kiowa to the city owned wells near Sharon.

City administrator Lou Leone explained that the grant being sought is for Phase I of the project, which would replace the 14 miles of water line along to the north water tower and improved water lines in the north half of the city. He said if the federal funding is received, there would not be a need for a water rate increase.

A couple of council members, however, felt that the projected $107,000 yearly payments for the city’s part of the project was just too much for a small town to handle – until they were reminded that the city at present spends around $70,000 a year just to maintain the pipeline along TriCity Road to Sharon. The city “can absorb the $107,000,” the city administrator said.

The city’s water pipes are also very clogged and corroded, and he showed the council examples. If Phase I of the project is approved and completed, Mr. Leone said USDA is encouraging the city to continue into Phase II, which would complete the loop of water lines around the city, replace old, clogged lines, and link both the north and south water towers. This would improve water pressure throughout the town as well as possibly help businesses and residents with their fire insurance coverage rates.

Ordinances Approved

Council adjourned the public meeting and began the regular session with approval of the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment.

Next on the agenda was Ordinance No. 445, which involves how the city would respond to a water shortage or emergency situation. It was approved unanimously.

Ordinance No. 446 was also approved, which relates to insurance payments and ensuring home and business owners who have insurance use it to cover costs of cleaning up after a fire, storm, or other calamity or reimburse the city if it is forced to step in, such as was the case with the old bowling alley building. It updates the present city ordinance concerning the issue bringing it up to current standards.

A third proposed ordinance which would prohibit residents from parking their vehicles in their yards, particularly their front yards, was quickly rejected by council members.

Councilman Russ Molz noted that the city already has ordinances on the books to deal with some of these issues, but he said they aren’t being enforced. “We don’t enforce the ones we have now,” he said. “If we’re not going to enforce them why have them?” he added.

Surveyor for 12th Street

Council next approved hiring a surveyor to redraw the property lines along 12th Street. In 1895, the city allowed a railroad to be constructed along 12th Street and part of 11th Street by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. It was abandoned in 1999 with the property reverting back to the city.

The property lines were never updated and has hampered the city’s desire to construct drainage ditches along the original 12th Street to help with drainage in the city. It will also aid property owners along the street to determine the exact boundaries of their properties.

Cost for the surveyor was quoted at $7,000.

Employee Handbook Changes

Council approved changes to the Employee Handbook, including changing the overtime rule from anything over 8 hours per day to over 40 hours per week. Changes were also approved to the sick time policy and the use of purchase order numbers. The changes go into effect October 1.

In a related item, council approved the purchase of software that would change the punch card system city employees now use to an electronic system of tracking employee hours. Cost is $3,140 for software and training plus a $300 per year fee.

Software to help track purchase orders was also approved at an initial cost of $1,600 plus a $200 annual fee.

Police Report

Council discussed two new patch designs proposed for police department uniforms and allowed Police Chief Steven Johnson to select his favorite. Cost is $2.67 per patch.

Chief Johnson also presented council with a letter discussing finances and noted that he and his family feel “blessed” that they are living in Kiowa and are very happy here.

Administrator’s Report

Lou Leone reported that paperwork for the USDA grant for a backup generator for the Community Building is completed and RSI has been notified to begin installing the Generac generator.

He also said that installation of the city’s second generator is scheduled to be completed this week. He said there would need to be one early morning power outage to hook up the new generator to the electric system.

Staff is consulting with the city’s insurance appraiser concerning the Swimming Pool damage and whether it should try to repair the existing pool house building or tear it down and build a new one. A grant application has also been submitted to South Central Community Foundation for $5,000 in an effort to seek more funding help for the project.

The city’s email addresses have all been changed over the toe “@kiowaks.org” extension, and the new water truck has been delivered to the Water Department.

Mr. Leone said that staff has been in contact with U.S. Congressman Ron Estes and State Senator Larry Alley to request a review of the city’s request for help with cleanup expenses after the two devastating windstorm the city experienced in late June and early August.

The city has made arrangements with the City of Pratt and the Heart of America group to provide a building inspector from time to time as needed.

FEMA will be updating the city’s floodplain maps in the next three years, he reported, Mr. Leone also gave a storm damage update and said that an additional 15-19 poles on the city’s newly acquired power line heading north are down. Plans are being developed to replace them with a better grade of poles hopefully before the end of the month.

He also gave an update for the public as to why the city needs a second generator (the present single generator won’t handle the entire city power needs and requires “rolling blackouts” to provide partial service to customers), and he also apologized to residents for any inconveniences they have endured due to power outages caused by the recent storms, which has delayed getting the second generator installed and running.

In other action, council:

  • Approved a request from the assistant water operator to be moved from part-time to full-time status.
  • Approved an updated contract for engineering services with BG Consultants after changes requested by the city were made. The engineering services are related to the proposed water line project and the city would not be liable for the $40,000+ cost if it does not receive the USDA grant or decides not to proceed with the project. The city should receive final word on the grant application in January, 2018.
  • Passed a resolution for payroll deduction.
  • Reviewed department head reports and approved purchase of a grapple hook to help with picking up large items such as tree limbs, etc.
  • Belatedly approved the annual “Burn Out” event held over Labor Day weekend
  • Approved a proclamation declaring the week of October 8 through October 14 as “Fire Prevention Week”.
  • Heard an update from city attorney Laurel McClellan on the former bowling alley property, who reported that the property should come up for sale soon. The city then can bid to purchase the property, or if someone else wins the bid those funds could be then claimed by the city to help pay the estimated $39,000 it cost the city to tear the building down.

In final action, council held an executive session to discuss employee evaluations.

Kiowa/Hardtner Methodist Churches Welcome Reverend Margaret Johnson

From KIOWA/HARDTNER UMC

On July 1 the Kiowa and Hardtner United Methodist Churches welcomed the Reverend Margaret Johnson as their new pastor. She was introduced to life in Barber County by the wind storm and power outage of June 30 and experienced first-hand the great community spirit here as people pulled together to clean up. She also participated in an encore performance on August 5 and 6!

Pastor Margaret was born and raised in Wichita, Ks. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and later obtained a master’s degree in adult education from K-State. After graduating from KU, she worked for more than 25 years as an executive staff member with the Girl Scout Council in south central Kansas where she held a number of positions including camp director, membership director, coordinator of program services, training director, and assistant executive director. One highlight was taking a group of high school girls to Europe. During this time she was also growing in her faith as a Christian and became actively involved in her church serving as lay person, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, chairing committees, and participating in a variety of mission and ministry activities.

After leaving the Girl Scouts, she took a position at her church as Director of Lay Ministries. Within the first six months, she realized God was calling her into ministry as a pastor. She continued working full-time at her church in Wichita while also attending Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Ok. She graduated with a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. She has served as a pastor in Columbus, Ks and Parsons, Ks.

“I look forward to learning more about the community and getting to know the people here,” stated Pastor Margaret. “The traditions and culture may be different in each place I serve, but the deep desire for a fulfilling relationship with God, who loves us unconditionally, is universal. We rely on the church to be a place where we receive support and encouragement during those rough patches in life. I pray that the good news of Jesus Christ will be a beacon of hope for all who live here.”

KDH Names John Chiaffitelli, D.O., as Chief of Staff

Dr. John Chiaffitelli, left, has been named the new Chief of Staff at Kiowa District Healthcare. He is pictured with current staff members Mindy Kobbeman, P.A.,, center, and Melissa Stroh, P.A.

KIOWA DISTRICT Healthcare has named John Chiaffitelli, D.O., as the new Chief of Staff.

Dr. Chiaffitelli “Dr. C” is a Board-Certified Internal Medicine Physician. He joins KDH from his private practice in Edmond, Oklahoma. He received his Doctorate from Oklahoma State University of Osteopathic Medicine in 1995. Dr. Chiaffitelli completed his residency at University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

Dr. Chiaffitelli is a member of several prestigious organizations including American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Internal Medicine, and Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Chiaffitelli to our team,” said KDH CEO Margaret Grismer. “Dr. Chiaffitelli’s years of experience in Long-Term Acute Care (LTAC) facilities will provide the medical leadership needed to expand our Swing-Bed program.”

Dr. Chiaffitelli started his new position on August 1st and he will be in clinic every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Suspected Tornado Rips Through Kiowa

Roof of swimming pool was ripped off and tossed across the street.

Football bleachers were blown across the field to the visitors side.

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Kiowa has had its share of storms this year, beginning on Christmas Day with a severe wind event followed just a month ago, June 30, by an even stronger wind storm that did considerable damage throughout the area.

But nothing prepared the community for the storm that hit Saturday evening just around supper time. Witnesses report seeing as many as three funnel clouds dipping from the clouds, and the damage would seem to back up the belief that at least one of those funnels ripped across the northern part of the community.

The storm hit just around 6:00 p.m. with severe winds, torrential rains and hail. But suddenly, towards the end of the storm, the winds became stronger and shifted directions, and tore through town.

While just about every resident and business had damage, the worst was in the northern half of town where windows were blown out, buildings crushed by trees and roofs ripped off of homes.

The Kiowa Swimming Pool had its roof ripped off and dumped west across the street in the front yard of the Jerry Darger residence. South Barber High School had an air condition unit torn from the roof, and the large grandstand at the high school football field, which had just been completely renovated just a couple of years ago, was torn from the ground, concrete anchor posts and all, and thrown east across the field ending up on the visitor’s side.

Downtown businesses also took a big hit. Large windows were blown out at Kiowa Locker, Bogner, Inc., the antique store and others, while siding was torn off the Thurman Harvesting building and the Southern Baptist Church. Roofs and siding were also ripped off other buildings, particularly in the north part of town. With the heavy rains, street flooding was also a problem for a short time with city crews working diligently to clear sewer drains to let the water escape.

Electric power was lost during the storm, and when the extent of the damage to poles and lines was realized, City Administrator Lou Leone put out a call for mutual aid from area towns for electric crews and equipment.

The response was tremendous. Crews started arriving Saturday night and worked throughout the night. Sunday, many more streamed into Kiowa from all over Kansas and Oklahoma. Dozens of poles had to be replaced not only in town, but outside as well, and electric service lines reattached to homes and businesses. Their efforts paid off as Kiowa’s power came back on at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning.

The community once again really came together to help everyone get through the storm’s aftermath. The electric work was coordinated out of the ambulance shed, where a generator kept power going, while volunteers met at the Community Building and were recruited to go around town and help residents where they could.

Sandwiches were served at noon to any residents or workers that wanted a meal, and at suppertime, hamburgers and hot dogs cooked at the Hometown Market were served to anyone that was hungry.

The state’s Emergency Management unit was contacted and was expected to arrived in Kiowa sometime Monday to survey the damage and give an assessment of the cause of the damage.

Needless to say, a big Thank You goes out to all the city workers and electric crews who came through big in getting Kiowa back on its feet. And an even bigger thanks to the residents who came together in a time of need to help each other through what many say is the worst storm they have ever witnessed in our community.

The clean-up will continues for several more days and weeks.