Category Archives: News

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.

Congratulations State Track Athletes!

Sabrina Hughbanks

Gavin Doherty

Cole Coggins

South Barber High School sent seven athletes in seven events to last weekend’s Kansas State Track & Field Championships in Wichita. Sophomore Cole Coggins placed 3rd in the 300 high hurdles while senior Gavin Doherty took 4th in the 400 meters. Senior Sabrina Hughbanks also placed 8th in the javelin event.

Summer Reading Starts June 7

The Kiowa Public Library Summer Reading Program will start June 7th. The theme this year is “Build a Better World”. Children ages 3 to 5th grade can register anytime at the Library. We’ll have Story Hour on Wednesdays. Children 3 to Pre-K will meet 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and children K-3rd grade will meet from 11:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. We will have Puppets, Reading Books, Crafts and Snacks!

Come and help the Kiowa Public Library “BUILD A BETTER WORLD” this Summer. Please call the Library at 825-4630.

 

Glenna Williams is the new Miss South Barber

Kansas Speaks Survey Shows Pessimism on State Economy, Support for Medical Marijuana

HAYS, Kan. — Ten percent of Kansans think the state’s economy is “very good” or “excellent,” but 26 percent think it is “poor” or “very poor,” according to the latest Kansas Speaks survey of public opinion.
Slightly less than two-thirds of respondents indicated they felt Kansas was on the “wrong track,” while slightly more than one-third believe Kansas is on the “right track.”
Now in its ninth year, Kansas Speaks is a series of surveys conducted in the spring and fall by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University.
On other pressing or controversial issues of the day, Kansans favor tax increases more than budget cuts to fix the budget deficit, but barely, and marijuana, medical and recreational, enjoys majority support, medical significantly so.
On the state budget crisis, just over two-fifths of respondents wanted to cut spending exclusively, while another one-fourth wanted to increase taxes exclusively. More than one-third favored a combination of tax increases and lower spending. Republicans and those with lower education levels were more likely to favor spending cuts, while Democrats and those with higher education levels were more likely to favor increasing taxes.
Respondents who said they were in favor of “increasing taxes” or “both” were asked which taxes they would increase. Over half (56 percent) favored increasing income tax, 39 percent favored increasing sales taxes, and 19 percent favored increasing property tax. Republicans and women were more likely to favor an increased sales tax, while Democrats and men were more likely to favor increasing the income tax.
Similar to results of previous years, when asked about preferences for various taxation categories, respondents were most in favor of raising taxes on large corporations and the top income earners. The vast majority were against raising taxes on small business and the middle class.
The Docking Institute conducted the spring 2017 Kansas Speaks survey from Feb. 23 to April 11. A random sample of adult residents of Kansas age 18 and older was surveyed by telephone to assess their attitudes and opinions regarding various issues of interest to Kansas citizens.
A total of 1,362 Kansas residents were contacted; 573 completed the survey, a 42-percent response rate. The margin of error was 4 percent at a 95-percent confidence level.
The full report, in pdf form, is available through the Kansas Speaks link on the page at www.fhsu.edu/docking.
On specific taxes, 69 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” support increasing taxes on cigarettes and cigars, and 68 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” support increasing taxes on alcohol. Seventy percent of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” support closing the LLC loophole.
Of respondents who said they favored “decreasing spending” or “both,” 32 percent favored decreasing spending on social services, 30 percent favored cutting higher education, 25 percent favored cutting funds for roads and highways, and 13 percent favored decreasing spending on K-12 education.
Republicans were more likely to favor decreasing spending on higher education and social services. Males were more likely favor cuts to K-12 education.
Legalizing recreational marijuana for individuals 21 and older to allow taxation by the state was “strongly” or “somewhat” supported by 50 percent of respondents, and 40 percent “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed the idea.
But medical marijuana was at least “somewhat” supported by 76 percent and was opposed by only 14 percent.” Of the political categories, only the strongest Republicans were more likely to oppose than support allowing medical marijuana.
Dissatisfaction with Gov. Sam Brownback declined slightly from last year, to 56 percent “very dissatisfied” from 62 percent a year ago; 71 percent are to some degree dissatisfied with Brownback, down from 74 percent one year ago.
For President Donald Trump, 45 percent of respondents showed some level of satisfaction, while 44 percent of respondents showed some level of dissatisfaction.
On President Trump’s relationship with the Russian government or President Vladimir Putin, 49 percent of respondents were at least “somewhat uncomfortable,” and 32 percent were at least “somewhat comfortable.” Males and Republicans tended to be the most comfortable, with Democrats and Independents being more likely to express discomfort.
On the perennial question of rating Kansas as a place to live, about half indicated Kansas was “very good” or “excellent,” but 6 percent, a record high over the history of the survey, rated Kansas “poor” or “very poor.” Republican and Independent respondents were more likely to rate Kansas highly as a place to live.
For more information, contact Dr. Gary Brinker, director of the Docking Institute of Public Affairs, 785-628-5949, gdbrinker@fhsu.edu.

South Barber Commencement is Sunday

 

Bailey Roberts – Valedictorian

Spencer Kimmell – Salutatorian

Thirteen seniors will receive diplomas on Sunday, May 14, as South Barber High School holds Commencement Exercises in the high school gymnasium.

The proceedings get underway at 2:00 p.m.

Honorary junior conductors, Trae Rathgeber and Idallis Shaffer, will lead the seniors to their seats during the Processional, played by vocal music instructor Boram Shin. Ushers will be Slater Blick and Kaleigh Velasquez.

High school Principal Brent Shaffer will welcome the students and guests to graduation. He will be followed by the Salutatory and Class President’s remarks by Spencer Kimmell. A vocal ensemble consisting of seniors Grant Cantrell, Brian Farney, Sabrina Hughbanks, Bailey Roberts and Emily Rugg will perform “There is a Season”, followed by the Valedictory address by Bailey Roberts.

An entertaining slide show of the senior class throughout their school years will be shown, and Principal Shaffer will then present the class for graduation. Diplomas will be presented by USD 255 Board of Education members Mike Miller and Dooli Rugg.

South Barber Class of 2017 members are: Grant Matthew Cantrell, Tanner Levi Cloyd, Gavin Stewart Doherty, Brian Benjamin Farney, Dale William Hoch, Kacee Danae Hostetler,

Sabrina Rae Hughbanks, Spencer Christian Kimmell, Andraia Nicole McKitrick, Anna Marisela Cunningham Perez, Madison Jane Polson, Bailey Marie Roberts and Emily Dianne Rugg.

Be sure to view the Senior Page elsewhere in this issue.

Optimistic Outlook for South Central Telephone as Expansion Plans Continue, Upgrades Planned

By REX ZIMMERMAN

South Central Telephone Assn. held its 2017 annual meeting on Friday, April 28, at the Kiowa Community Building. A capacity crowd enjoyed a delicious meal catered by Raykie’s Catering of Medicine Lodge and heard a report of the past year’s activities.

Mike VanCampen, president of the board of directors, welcomed everyone to the meeting and dinner and handled the election of officers. Paul Harbaugh was unopposed for re-elected as director from the Kiowa exchange with 108 votes, and Kenneth Dohm was re-elected as director from the Lake City/Sun City exchange by an 18-14 vote count over Lori Johnson.

Other directors are Brent Garvie from Burlington/Byron exchange, Jesse Blasi from Iuka, Ronnie Patterson from Hazelton, and Dan Hrencher from Sharon.

The financial report for the association showed that even through difficult periods, the association has remained strong financially with equity about five times the amount of debt. The bottom line “net margin” showed a total for 2016 of $482,918.00, an increase of over $20,000 from 2015.

General Manager Kelly Johnson said in his report that uncertainty in the industry, especially at the federal level, has finally cleared allowing the company to forecast revenues with more certainty. This will allow the company to continue expansion projects in the Harper and Anthony areas while streamlining expenses and “focusing on what our customers need”.

Johnson reported on a new service, URTech, which is provided by local employees and will give customers more and better support. He also said that work on upgrades on electronic hardware on the outside of customer’s residences and businesses in the Kiowa and Burlington exchanges will begin very shortly and should be completed by Fall.

Johnson also reminded all SCTelcom customers that the battery backup which was installed in their homes and businesses with the fiber optics system several years ago needs a new battery every three or four years. The batteries can be picked up at any SCTelcom office at no charge.

“All in all, things are going pretty well,” Johnson concluded.

Scholarships were next awarded to seniors living in SCTelcom exchanges. Students receiving the honors were Kacee Hostetler, Spencer Kimmell, Bailey Roberts and Emily Rugg from South Barber High School, Kayley Geesling from Fairfield High School, Kendra England from Medicine Lodge High School and Jonathan Armbruster from Burlington High School.

Several door prizes and gift certificates were given away to conclude the meeting.

Chieftains at State Basketball!

State intro