Angels and Golden Angels will once again be placed on the Christmas Trees at both banks in Kiowa – The First State Bank and The People’s Bank – beginning Monday, Nov. 27th.

Please let one of the tellers know the number on the angel that you select. Wrapped gifts need to be returned to the banks by Friday, December 15th.

There will also be a Gold Stars Tree this year. Those interested in Gold Stars will provide a senior in our community with a Mobile Meals sponsorship. Suggested donation amounts will be posted on the Stars, but any donation is appreciated. Please visit the Kiowa District Hospital Clinic and pick up a Gold Star.

Thank you for helping support this project and for providing a blessing for others this Holiday Season.

 

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Kiowa’s City Council met Monday, November 6, for its monthly meeting and set a burn period, renewed contracts and service agreements, and acted on several other items. Council members present were Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz, Brian Hill and Tom Wells. In the absence of Mayor Brandon Farney, council present Watson opened the meeting.

After approval of the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment, council first heard from resident Ernie Godley, who had a problem with water running off the county/city fire station building on 7th Street washing out the gravel he has put in his driveway. He would like the water drained out to the street if possible. Council acknowledged the problem, but since the building is owned by the county they don’t have the authority to make any changes. It was decided to contact the county commission on the matter for their help and hopefully take some action next month.

Mop Contract Dropped

A proposal by Nicole Perez, who is contracted by the city to clean the Community Building, could save the city a little money. The city currently has a contract with Uline to provide mops and supplies as needed to the building at a cost of $744 per year. Eliminating the contract and purchasing mops and supplies itself, the city could save around $300, it was estimated. Council voted to not renew the Uline contract when it expires and purchase supplies as needed.

No Beer Cans, Please!

City administrator Lou Leone gave an overview of the budget as the end of the year nears and said overall it is below budget. The Electric Fund is the one exception due to the costs of last summer’s storms and other projects going on. A budget amendment might be required, he said, to bring that fund up to requirements before the end of the year.

The sewer cleaning project was also discussed and Mr. Leone noted that the cleaning crew found one section of sewer pipes clogged with Coors beer cans. Council had a few chuckles about the situation (one said he was a Bud Light drinker so it wasn’t him), but realize that it can become a serious situation and asks residents to please not put items down the sewer that could permanently clog it up.

City Office Needs Work

David Moreland with American Metropolitan Environmental, Inc. next visited with council concerning an inspection he had conducted of the city building, which was originally constructed in 1929. Water has leaked in from the roof causing mold in the upper ceiling tiles, which have also caused problems in the drop ceiling now in the building. Fiberglass from old insulation was also detected. Mr. Moreland also said the west wall of the building needs repairs and the windows on that side need to be replaced or sealed up. He noted that the contaminates in the air might or might not be a health problem to employees and the public, depending on how their immune system reacts.

Discussion then turned to what other improvements the city building might need, such as updated wiring, inside remodeling, etc. Council decided to take first things first and talk to a roofer to get the leaks stopped before undertaking major improvements inside.

Burn Period Set

Council voted to authorize a burn period inside the City of Kiowa through November 22. Citizens are reminded not to burn in street gutters or on windy days.

Contracts Approved

Next on the agenda were several annual contracts and other items for council to consider.

The city administrator first received council approval for the Kiowa Chamber of Commerce to decorate and light Centennial Park downtown and also the Island Park.

The contract for the annual city audit with Busby, Ford & Reimer was approved. The fee of $9,350.00 for 2017 reflects no increase for the new contract.

The renewal of a contract with Data Tech was also approved at a cost of $5,094.40. This is for software and licensing costs for the city’s billing software.

Movie Theater Expenses

Council next heard a report on the movie theater’s projection system. The projector is five years old and out of warranty, the city administrator explained. A recent failure of a needed part in the projector is costing the city $8.000.00. Sonic, the company that presently maintains the theater equipment, offered to replace the part at no cost (with the exception of over $500 travel expenses) if the city renews the warranty for two years at a cost of $4,444.00.

Council accepted that agreement, then were asked to renew the movie theater’s security agreement with Sonic to provide a firewall for the theater’s computer system to protect downloads. (The city pays for the internet service for the theater). Council also approved that agreement for $269.55. Council was reminded that these agreements are in addition to the monthly fee the city already pays Sonic for a service agreement contract.

Lou Leone said that while the two year warranty agreement will buy the city some time, the projection system is five years old and with one part failing, others will most likely follow. He said the city needs to be thinking about replacing the projection system at some point in the future, at an estimated cost of over $65,000.00. One councilman noted that the old projection system lasted over 40 years.

In other action, council:

  • Gave approval for City Clerk Trish Brewer to attend City Clerk’s School.
  • Was informed that the final draft plat for 12th Street is completed and the approximately 12 property owners along the east side of the street will be contacted by letter providing information on next steps to take if they wish to claim the additional property they are eligible for.
  • Approved $600.00 for an application with the Dept. of Water Resources to extend the city’s existing water rights for another five years. The rights include the wells near Sharon and also the rights around the south water tank and the well northeast of town, which may have good enough quality water to be of use again for a potable water source, the city administrator said.
  • Was presented the Police Report from Chief Steven Johnson. He said a live disaster drill, held primarily for the hospital personnel, went very well.

See last week’s paper for the administrator’s report.

FINAL RESULTS including write-in ballots

Will not be official until canvassed by County Commissioners on Monday, Nov. 13

HARDTNER

Mayor

Durwin Wolgamott, Hardtner      16

2 City Council

Barbara Cundiff, Hardtner        16

David M. Gorden, Hardtner       12

HAZELTON

3 City Council

Kathy Hays, Hazelton        21

Jose Ruiz, Hazelton         18

O. Gene Weber, Hazelton        7

ISABEL

Mayor – None Filed

Write-in

Kathy Balding     14

Eileen Murphy     10

2 City Council

Lonnie Frederick, Isabel      17

Jerry M. Jones, Isabel     17

Write-in

Anna Startzman     10

KIOWA CITY

Mayor

Ronald L. Rohr, Jr, Kiowa       116

Bill Watson, Kiowa       65

2 City Council

R.L. Simpson, Kiowa        129

Tom Wells, Kiowa       114

MEDICINE LODGE

3 City Council – None Filed

Write-ins:

Matt Forsyth, Medicine Lodge     276

Ron James, Medicine Lodge      218

Elisa Stone, Medicine Lodge      278

Garry Wright, Medicine Lodge      65

Kim McLemore     41

Brian Miller     46

SHARON

Mayor

Write-in

Rod McDaniel     22

2 City Council – None Filed

Write-in

Kade Keast     20

Lance Vandeveer     14

SUN CITY

Mayor – None Filed

Write-in

Mike Wayne     7

5 City Council – None Filed

Write-in

Mark Long     6

Deryl Ebling     7

Russel Oesterich     5

Teena Thurber     7

Deitra Black     6

USD #254

Position #4 – None Filed

Write-in Brian L. Withrow, Medicine Lodge     59

Position #5

Allen F. Dick, Isabel       38

Position #6

Micha Werner, Sharon      20

USD #255

Position #4 Dist 2 – inside Kiowa

Mark Pollock, Kiowa      133

Position #5 & #6 Dist 1 – outside Kiowa

Stephen R. Allen, Kiowa      80

Write-in Bryan K. Quick, Hazelton     23

USD #438

Jerry DeWeese, Pratt       3

Rex A. Robinson, Sawyer      4

Jeff Slade, Pratt      4

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Barber County residents can already call “911” for emergencies, and beginning Friday, November 3, they will be able to “Text-to-911” as well.

Tests with wireless carriers has been completed, according to 911 Supervisor Cheryl Seipel with the Barber County Sheriff’s Office. She reported that the system seems to be “running smoothly”.

Why is texting 911 important? Texting is intended to benefit people that may not be able to speak due to an emergency such as a home invasion or abusive partner, as well as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have limited speech capabilities.

How do you text 911? Look for the message icon on your phone. Put 911 in the number field of your text message screen. Then, put the location and type of emergency in the message field.

Texting does NOT replace voice 911 calls. Texting should ONLY be used when a voice call is not possible. Information, locations and other data can be gathered more readily with a voice call, but texting is available in other situations. Remember “Call if you Can, Test if You Can’t”.

Other important facts:

  • Text in simple words – no slang or abbreviations.
  • You must provide your location and nature of assistance needed- police, fire or medical.
  • No pictures, videos, emotions or emojis can be accepted at this time.
  • Messages must be in English if possible as translation for text is not currently available.
  • Do not end your text call or power off your phone unless the dispatcher advises. 911 centers can not initiate text messages. In addition, if your phone is in roaming mode or you add 911 to a group text, the dispatcher center will not receive your message.

For more information on “Text-to-911” call the Barber County Sheriff’s Office at 620-886-5678.

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

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.

 

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

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.

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.