Category Archives: News

County Fair Events Kick Off This Week

By ROBIN EUBANK-CALLIS, M.S.

Barber County Extension Agent

THE 2017 Barber County Fair will kick off with the Fashion Revue on July 21 at 7:00 P.M. at the Community Bible Fellowship Church in Medicine Lodge. Everybody is welcome to come see the styles that girls and boys are constructing and purchasing today. This fashion show will include 39 outfits modeled by 4-H members age 7 to 18. Several of these outfits were constructed by the 4-H members themselves.

During the Fashion Show, 4-H Members will perform talent acts that showcase their musical skills. A special addition this year will be a brief presentation from Bianca Lewis from the Sunflower 4-H Club. She recently attended Citizenship Washington Focus which is a 2 week trip to Washington D.C. on a bus.

Results from the Perishable Foods Contest will be announced at the end of the Fashion Show. The Perishable Foods Contest is for recipes made by 4-H Members that must be served hot or cold. This contest is held before the Fair so that items can be judged at the appropriate temperatures.

Anybody interested in exhibiting at the Fair can get an exhibitor number by calling the Extension Office at 886-3971. Entry cards are available at the Extension Office or can be picked up when entering at the Fair either on July 27th between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. or July 28th between 7:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M.

 

City Council Talks Electricity, Welcomes New Clerk, Passes Ordinances at July Meeting

Kiowa’s second electric generator was installed last week.

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council discussed electricity and passed ordinances at it’s June 10 monthly meeting. Council members present were Bill Watson, Tom Wells, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz and Brian Hill. In the absence of Mayor Brandon Farney, board president Watson conducted the meeting.

After approval of the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment, council heard a budget report from City Administrator Lou Leone. He said that the finances are “doing good” with nearly all funds at or slightly below the 50% level midway through the budget year.

Patrol Car Donated

Council next gave a big “thank you” to Jeff Bryan, owner of Bryan Chevrolet-Buick of Kiowa, for the donation of a 2011 Chevrolet Impala for use as a patrol vehicle by the Police Department. The vehicle has 73,000 miles on it and had previously been used as a parol car by the Hays Police Department. It will be outfitted with new lights and decals and replace the present patrol car, which will be used for the reserve unit.

New Clerk Welcomed

Kiowa’s new city clerk, Trisha Brewer, was welcomed by the council. Board president Bill Watson declined to appoint her as City Clerk, however, as he felt that was the duty of the mayor. Mrs. Brewer was appointed, however, to serve as the city’s KMEA No. 2 director.

In a related item, both she and another recently hired employee, John Duvall, were approved to be put on the city’s insurance policy as of July first, without the normal 90 day waiting period.

Special Request

Council heard a special request from a citizens concerning tree roots in their sewer line leading to their residence. While sympathetic, council noted that service lines to private property was the owner’s responsibility, not that of the city. They stressed, however, that they welcomed citizens to relay their concerns on any city issue with council members or the city office staff.

Water Plan Complete

The city administrator advised council that the Water Conservation Plan for 2017 has been completed and has been sent to the Kansas Rural Water Assn. for approval. The plan needs to be updated every year, he noted.

Ordinances Approved

Next on the agenda was yearly approval of the Uniform Public Offense Code and Standard Traffic Ordinance, which were passed as Ordinances No. 442 and 443. They are published elsewhere in this week’s newspaper.

Staff Reports

Police Chief Steven Johnson reported an a credit card scam by an out-of-state source that has been reported in town and advised citizens to be wary of any phone requests for credit or any other personal information.

The city superintendent report noted that several poles were purchased from Southern Pioneer Electric when the wind storm struck on June 30, and that the city will now keep poles of several sizes on hand for future use. Councilman Wells gave the city crew a “job well done” on its work to get power lines back up and running and limbs cleaned up throughout town following the storm.

Council also approved plans for chip and seal of several streets throughout town later this summer.

Lou Leone noted in his report that the city has received a grant of $13,300 to help purchase a diesel generator for use at the Community Building in times of emergency. Total cost of the generator with hookups is $24,000.

He also said the new generator is arriving this week. The control room building is also set to arrive soon and when installed between the two generators will allow control of either or both of the units, which will double the city’s ability to provide its own electricity when needed.

Mr. Leone reported on the KMEA Conference he recently attended and said that the group has offered to sponsor the city’s membership in the KMU. Council voted to join KMU and spread costs of the membership out over the budget year.

The city administrator noted that it was KMEA who he contacted to have power crews sent for mutual aid when the city’s power lines were damaged. He said their main question was “how many do you need?” and he acknowledged how much those out of town crews helped restore the city’s electricity.

Upgrades to the electric grid were also discussed, especially an automatic reclosure system that would automatically close the breaker on a circuit when it is interrupted by a bird or squirrel in the system. It would then reopen when possible. It would save the city considerable overtime expenses for crews to come out and do the work.

Staff has contacted Southern Pioneer Electric to take the “next steps” regarding connecting the city to their transmission line. It was also reported that since Southern Pioneer is connected to poles along 14th Street that were damaged in the wind storm, the company will pay one-third of the costs to restore those poles.

City Attorney Laurel McClellan noted in his report that Mr. Paul Tilley had missed his date to file an appeal in his legal case, but action is moving along on another case involving costs associated with the demolition of the old bowling alley building. Mr. McClellan said they should have an opinion from the judge in the case on August 9.

After more discussion, council held a short executive session at the request of Councilman Watson, then adjourned.

Sen. Jerry Moran Statement on Health Bill Decision

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA):

“There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it. This closed-door process has yielded the BCRA, which fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare’s rising costs. For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one.

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy. Furthermore, if we leave the federal government in control of everyday healthcare decisions, it is more likely that our healthcare system will devolve into a single-payer system, which would require a massive federal spending increase. We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”

Mark Mathews Killed in Two Vehicle Accident

SHARON, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Highway Patrol said a 62-year-old Sharon man was killed Tuesday afternoon from injuries he received during a truck collision.

It happened just after 4 p.m. at the intersection of Bluestem Road and Southeast Naron Road, one mile South of Sharon.

A 2014 Dodge Ram driven by a 33-year-old Cooper Kanngiesser of Attica was westbound on Naron Road when it collided in the middle of the intersection with a 2009 Chevy Silverado driven by 62-year-old Mark Mathews, which southbound on Bluestem Road.

Mathews was transported to Medicine Lodge Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Kanngiesser and a 19-year-old passenger in the Dodge Ram, Chance Barnes of Arkansas City, were not injured.

Barber County Fair Activities Get Underway Next Week

The 97th annual Barber County Fair is set for July 27-30 in Hardtner, but pre-fair activities kick off next week.

Pre-entries for 4-H and FFA members were due in the Extension Office in Medicine Lodge on Thursday, July 20.

On Thursday, July 20, the 4-H Fashion Revue judging will be held at 5:00 p.m. at the Community Bible Fellowship Church, 2853 NE Curry Lane, in Medicine Lodge.

Friday, July 21, the 4-H Perishable Foods judging will be held at 2:00 p.m. and the Public Fashion Revue will be held at 7:00 p.m., both at the Community Bible Fellowship Church.

Saturday, July 22, the Dog Show will be held beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Merchant Building on the fairgrounds in Hardtner.

On Tuesday, July 25, the annual Fair Clean-up will be held beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds and campers are allowed to move in at that time.

Thursday, July 27, fair activities get underway with a Hamburger Feed at 6:00 p.m., and the Open Class and 4-H Buildings will be open for early entries.

The Merchants Building will also be open from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for setting up booths and exhibits.

The 4-H Horse Show will begin at 7:00 p.m. on July 27.

Fair activities are in full swing on Friday, July 28, with judging of livestock and other entries.

Saturday, July 29, is another day full of activities with the fair wrapping up Sunday.

And don’t forget the Rodeo on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Amusement rides will also be featured during the evening every night of the fair. Watch next week for more information.

 

Area Hit by Severe Wind Storm June 30

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Tornado force winds ripped through Kiowa early Friday morning, June 30, uprooting trees, ripping down limbs and knocking down power poles.

No official estimate has been given for the strength of the straight line winds that moved through the area with a line of thunderstorms just before 1:00 a.m. Friday, but old timers that have lived through many 70-80 mph. storms say this one was worse-much worse.

Kiowa City Administrator Lou Leone, who kept the community informed as well as he could through his Facebook post, reported that 24 power poles had to be replaced in town and on the transmission line heading south to the Burlington substation.

In addition, many electric service lines to individual homes were downed by tree limbs and had to be reconnected.

Power crews and equipment were asked for mutual aid from several surrounding communities to help the Kiowa city workers, and through their tireless efforts power was restored to the entire town by late Friday night. Mr. Leone had noted that without the help of these extra crews, power could have been off for up to five days.

Even the Kansas Dept. of Transportation (KDOT) wasn’t immune from the storm as crews were out Friday replacing broken highway signs and straightening others that had been twisted and bent in the wind.

But Friday’s storm wasn’t without a bit of a silver lining. All throughout Kiowa neighbors showed up to help cut up and haul away trees and limbs. There was a steady flow of trucks and trailers heading to the tree dump east of town, and city workers were on hand to keep it all orderly as the tree pile just grew larger and larger.

Riley Courson showed up in front of a home with a friend Friday afternoon wanting to haul away limbs that had been dragged to curbside. They had been out working all day long just wanting to “help out” in a time of community need. That scene was repeated all over town. Right in the middle of loading up the trailer, Randy Blunk showed up to offer everybody a bottle of cold water.

Churches and other groups got involved to help feed the work crews that arrived in town, and there were many, many other goods deeds done throughout the town. That’s just the way it works in a small, close-knit community.

Clean-up will no doubt continue throughout the week. Special thanks to the Kiowa City crew and all the out-of-town help that got the town back up and running.

Hardtner Plans Another “Bang Up” 4th of July

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The community of Hardtner has planned another spectacular 4th of July Celebration as it celebrates 59 years of honoring America and all the freedoms she stands for.

A day full of activities planned to keep everyone entertained will be held both downtown and at Achenbach Park, highlighted in the evening by the best fireworks display around.

The theme for this year’s celebration is President John Kennedy’s famous quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

Parade Time Changed

The annual 4th of July Parade has been changed to 1:00 p.m. this year so those attending can move right from the parade to all the activities at the park.

Veteran’s Program at 11 a.m.

The annual Veteran’s Program will kick off activities on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Hardtner United Methodist Church, followed at 12 noon by a free lunch at the church.

The Little Firecracker Contest will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the American Legion Building and the contestants and winner will be among the featured attractions at the parade, which will kick off at 1:00 p.m. down Main Street.

There will be a $1,000 grand prize for the best float or entry in the parade. The first clue for the popular Medallion Hunt will be given following the parade.

Activities at the Park

A co-ed sand volleyball tournament will start at 11:00 a.m. at Achenbach Park, and the Hardtner City Pool will be open for a Free Swim from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Bike Races for the youngsters gets rolling at 2:00 p.m. followed by Turtle Races at 3:00 p.m.

Free BBQ Beef Sandwiches will begin serving at 5:00 p.m., and the White Elephant Auction will also get underway at 5:00 p.m. The auction is the primary funding event for the July 4th celebration, and all donations are welcome. To donate, call Syd Sterling at 296-4477.

All vendors are also welcome at the park during the afternoon and evening hours. The annual “4th of July” T-shirts can be purchased at Small Town Tees & Gifts in Kiowa.

At dark, a large crowd will fill the park and surround areas for the best fireworks show in Southern Kansas. It will be a great celebration and lots of fun for everyone, so we’ll see you Tuesday in Hardtner!

Connie (Mrs. Butch) Rooks shows a hail stone measuring over five inches in diameter that fell Thursday evening at their home in Kiowa.

City Hires New Clerk, Discusses What ATV’s are Allowed on Streets

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council hired a new City Clerk at last Monday night’s meeting, June 5. Following an executive session to review the final candidates for the position, council gave City Administrator Lou Leone authorization to offer the job to Patricia Brewer, and she accepted. Her first day at work will be on Monday, June 26.

Mrs. Brewer is the wife of Barber County Undersheriff Dusty Brewer. They moved to Kiowa earlier this year after he accepted Sheriff Lonnie Small’s offer to serve as second in command in the Sheriff’s Office.

All councilmen were at Monday night’s meeting – Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Brian Hill, Russ Molz and Tom Wells – along with Mayor Brandon Farney.

Status of Second Generator

After approval of previous minutes, with corrections, and bills for payment, council heard a short report from the city administrator on the status of the city’s second generator. The concrete pad is set to be poured this week and the entire project should be completed by the middle to end of July, Mr. Leone said.

He also reported on two electric outages the previous week. One was caused by a lightning strike during thunderstorms, and was restored after Western Farmers fixed the problem on their end. The other outage was caused by a bird strike causing a fuse to blow on the substation.

Mr. Leone also reported that with 44% of the budget year completed, the city has used just 37% of the budget funds so far. He also said that a shipment of 13 transformers and more LED street lights have been ordered to continue converting the city to a single voltage system and switching out the street lights to the brighter, much more energy efficient LED bulbs.

Bike Path in the Future?

The city administrator briefly discussed the possibilities of receiving funds from the Kansas Dept. of Transportation (KDOT) to help fund a bicycle past along the old railroad tracks along the south and east edge of town out to the river. The route, which had the tracks removed a few years ago, could be cleaned up and made accessible for bikes, hiking, etc. using matching funds from KDOT, if available. The project could also help with drainage problems along 12th Street, Mr. Leone said.

Council gave approval to allow the city administrator to get more facts and figures on what a bike path might cost and report back at a later meeting.

Insurance Approved

Council next voted 4-0 to approve the city’s insurance policy for 11 months at a cost of $52,489, which represents a six percent increase over the previous year. The one month shorter period is to get the city into a program that would increase the amount of dividends the city would receive.

Councilman Watson, who is also the city’s insurance agent, also noted the city has had several claims over the past year, and said that their would be a few reimbursements received due to city vehicles that are no longer on the policy. Mr. Watson abstained from the voting process due to his position as the city’s agent.

Police Have Been Busy

Police Chief Steven Johnson reported that there’s “been quite a bit going on” during the past month, with drug arrests and other activities. He said the department assisted with a very successful EMS Safety Week held the last day of school. He also reported that he has received final certification to instruct a “hostage” class, which also covers how to deal with persons with mental illness.

He was also asked how his department is working with the Sheriff’s Office, and he said relations are very good with each department helping out the other on several occasions.

What ATV’s are Legal on Streets?

Council next held a discussion as to what ATV’s (all terrain vehicle) are allowed on city streets under the “golf cart” ordinance. Councilman Watson noted that the ordinance was originally designed to allow elderly residents to purchase golf carts to drive around city streets (with the exception of streets that are also state highways – Main St. and North 7th). The ordinance was expanded to include utility ATV’s, but not “sport” ATV’s.

What defines a sport ATV was the primary question, and city attorney Laurel McClellan suggested the police dept. check with the Kansas Highway Patrol or Division of Motor Vehicles for a chart they have with pictures and descriptions of the various types of ATV’s.

Council also reminded the public that with either golf carts or ATV’s on streets, a city permit must be purchased and the driver must have a license and the vehicle must be insured.

Administrator’s Report

Lou Leone told council that the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment has submitted a list of improvements and has given the city a passing grade, acknowledging how fast the city staff has worked to be in compliance.

Changes have been made in how employees report mileage when the fuel up city vehicles to improve accountability and help with budgeting.

Work on the 2018 budget is awaiting valuation figures and other information, and he hopes to present a draft budget at the July meeting. The city staff is also working on the Water Conservation Plan, which is required to be updated every year.

The new water department truck should arrived by the late June, and Mr. Leone said that five houses have been identified around town as potentially dangerous or hazardous and the legal process will begin to have those structures torn down.

The city administrator also reported on a recent economic development seminar he attended in Glenpool, OK, finalizing the city water rights, city website improvements, and other continuing projects.

Filings Complete for City, School Elections in Nov.

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The June 1st deadline has come and gone for candidates running for city and school elections this November, and for many seats throughout Barber County there will be no contests for those seeking seats on city councils and school boards.

In fact, the only contest reported by the County Clerk’s office is for Kiowa City Mayor. Current city councilman Bill Watson and Ronald L. Rohr, Jr. have both filed for the position, which is presently held by Brandon Farney. He has completed his two terms and because of city ordinance can not run for a third consecutive term.

Kiowa also has two council seats up for election this November 7. Both incumbents – R.L. Simpson and Tom Wells – have filed for re-election and will be unopposed unless there are any write-in candidates.

U.S.D. 255 has three board seats up this fall, and only two candidates have filed for re-election. Mark Pollock is seeking to serve another term in his Position #4, District 2 chair, which represents all of Kiowa except for the southwest corner of town. Steve Allen, who presently serves as school board president, is also seeking re-election to one of two boards positions open in District 1, which represents all the school district outiside of Kiowa, except for southwestern corner of the city. The other seat is presently held by Dooli Rugg, and she did not file to serve another term.

In Hardtner, Durwin Wolgamott has filed for Mayor while Barbara Cundiff and David Gorden have filed for their present council seats. And in Hazelton, Kathy Hays, Jose Ruiz and O. Gene Weber have filed for the three council positions.

Lonnie Frederick and Jerry M. Jones have filed for the two city council seats up for election in Isabel, but no candidates have filed for the mayor’s chair. The mayor and two council seats are on the ballot in Sharon, and the mayor and five council seats in Sun City. Medicine Lodge has three council seats up for election. No filings were reported for these open positions.

North Barber County U.S.D. 254 has three positions open this fall. Allen F. Dick has filed for Position #5 and Micha Werner for Position #6.