Jack and Corine Harding were the Grand Marshals for the Pioneer Days parade on May 5.

The Land Run statue had lots of visitors during Pioneer Days and the Big Kansas Road Trip.

Congratulations to the South Barber Class of 2018!

Kiowa-Hardtner-Hazelton Girl Scouts

Kiowa-Hardtner-Hazelton Girl Scouts

Two cranes from Kiowa Welding hoisted the American Flag high over Main Street to celebrate the 4th of July.

 

Voters Cast Ballots August 7 in Kansas Primary Election

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Voters in Barber County and all of Kansas will head to the polls on Tuesday, August 7, for the state’s Primary Election. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Voters in Kiowa, Hardtner, Hazelton and surrounding rural areas will cast ballots at the Kiowa Community Building. Voters in Medicine Lodge, Sharon, Sun City and remaining areas of Barber County will vote at Barber County Courthouse Annex in Medicine Lodge.

Commissioner, State Rep Races

A seat on the Barber County Commission is up for election from District 1, which includes most of the City of Medicine Lodge and areas east. Incumbent Steve Garten and Mike Roe, both from Medicine Lodge, are running for the seat as Republicans.

The winner will face no opposition in the November 6 General Election.

Kyle D. Hoffman, Republican from Coldwater, is running unopposed for re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives from the 116th District. He will also face no competition in November from a Democratic candidate.

U.S. Representative

Kansas 4th District Congressman Ron Estes will face competition for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from another Ron Estes on the Republican ticket, while Laura Lombard and James A. Thompson are running on the Democratic ticket.

Many Running for State Offices

The race for Kansas Governor has a host of candidates. On the Republican side are candidates Jim Barnett, Jeff Colyer, Kris Kobach, Patrick Kucera, Tyler Ruzich, Ken Selzer and Joseph Tulera Jr., while Democrats running are Arden Anderson, Jack Bergeson, Carl Brewer, Laura Kelly and Joshua Svaty.

Republicans running for Secretary of State are Randy Duncan, Keith Esau, Craig McCullah, Scott Schwab and Dennis Taylor, and the winner will face Democrat Brian McClendon.

Derek Schmidt is running to keep his office of Attorney General on the Republican ticket and will face Sarah G. Swain, a Democrat, in November.

Republican Jake LaTurner and Democrat Marci Francisco are competing for the office of State Treasurer, while Vicki Schmidt and Clark Shultz are on the Republican ticket for Commissioner of Insurance and will face Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin in the November General Election.

Township Clerks and Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen will also be selected for all townships in Barber County. Most do not have candidates that have filed for those seats with the exception of Medicine Lodge Township (Richard Wortman, clerk), Moore Township (Shawn Simpson, clerk), Sun City Township (J. Paul Cox, clerk), Medicine Lodge One (Melvin E. Thompson and Carol A. Thompson, committeeman and committeewoman), and Medicine Lodge Three (Steve Garten and Amy Sill, committeeman and committeewoman.

Term Limits Will Remain

Kiowa voters voted 157-38 to keep term limits for the elected offices of Mayor and City Council in a special election on Tuesday.

The Kiowa City Council passed an ordinance earlier this year to eliminate term limits, but a public petition forced the ordinance to a vote in which voters rejected the ordinance. The city will now revert back to the previous ordinance that has been in effect for several years limiting elected officials to a maximum of two consecutive terms in office.

Sheriff Subject of Lawsuit Claiming Wrongful Death

MEDICINE LODGE- Barber County Sheriff Lonnie Small was the subject of a Petition for Damages lawsuit filed last week in Barber County District Court. The suit was filed by attorneys for Kristina Myers, on behalf of herself and three minor children.

The charges stem from an incident on October 6, 2017 when the sheriff and deputies responded to a call in Sun City in which witnesses state that Steven P. Myers had threatened patrons at Buster’s bar with a shotgun. Officers later found Myers, who the suit claims had returned home, put away his shotgun, and had taken his dog for a walk.

After being ordered out of a shed, the lawsuit states that Myers was standing in the middle of the back yard with his arms at his side, unarmed, and receiving conflicting orders from deputies. A few seconds later, Undersheriff Virgil “Dusty” Brewer shot Myers in the chest with a “less-lethal” bean bag round from a 12 gauge shotgun from an estimated 6-8 feet away, resulting in Myers’ death. A large portion of the incident was recorded on officer body cameras and had earlier been released to the courts and the public.

Under the “wrongful death” portion of the lawsuit, the filing states that:

Count I – Wrongful Death (K.S.A. § 60-1901 et seq.)

64. Without a reporting party, Defendant Sheriff Small and his employees did not have probable cause to arrest Steven Myers.

65. Even if the arrest of Steven Myers had been justified, Defendant Sheriff Small and his employees owed Steven Myers a duty to use only reasonable force, if any force was necessary at all, to effect his arrest.

66. Undersheriff Brewer breached that duty when, while acting within the scope of his employment, he shot and killed Steven Myers under circumstances where no reasonable officer would have done so.

67. Defendant Sheriff Small breached the duty owed to Steven Myers by failing to use appropriate force to affect his arrest, namely, deploying the K-9 if necessary rather than his Undersheriff armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.

68. Defendant Sheriff Small breached the duty owed to Steven Myers by failing to adequately train and supervise Defendant Undersheriff Brewer in the appropriate use of beanbag shotgun rounds, which failure proximately led to Steven Myers’s death.

69. Defendant Small knew or should have known that Undersheriff Brewer was not adequately familiar with the Policies and Procedures of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office, and that Undersheriff Brewer was not adequately trained or certified in the appropriate usage of beanbag shotgun rounds.

70. Defendant Small knew or should have known that, during the subject call on October 6, 2017, Undersheriff Brewer armed himself with a weapon and ammunition not procured by or owned by the Barber County Sheriff’s Office and failed to wear and activate his body camera, in violation of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office Policies and Procedures.

71. Defendant Small’s actions and omissions herein were done while acting within the scope of his employment.

72. Defendant Sheriff Small, by his actions and omissions alleged herein, proximately caused the death of Steven P. Myers.

73. Defendant’s conduct was with reckless or callous indifference to the consequences.

The lawsuit states the plaintiffs have suffered damages due to the death of their husband and father for, but not limited to:

a. Mental anguish, suffering, or bereavement;

b. loss of society, companionship, comfort, or protection;

c. loss of marital care, attention, advice, or counsel;

d. loss of parental care, training, guidance, or education; and

e. reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased.

Plaintiffs pray for relief against Defendant Lonnie Small as follows:

1. For general and non-economic damages in a sum to be determined at trial;

2. For special damages, including but not limited to lost income and Wentling damages, in a sum to be determined at trial;

3. For reasonable funeral and burial expenses;

4. For punitive and exemplary damages in amounts to be determined at trial;

5. For costs and interest as allowed by law;

6. And for such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Plaintiffs hereby demand trial by jury on all claims so triable.

Undersheriff Brewer is currently the defendant in a lawsuit in federal court over the shooting death of Steven Myers, but Sheriff Small was released from that lawsuit with the judge allowing that the sheriff could face legal action in state court. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is also currently investigating whether a criminal act took place regarding Myers’ death.

 

USD 255 Names New Superintendent

USD 255 NEWS RELEASE

The USD 255 Board of Education has announced the selection of Dr. Mylo Miller, as the new superintendent. Dr. Miller will take the reins on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Miller has a broad educational experience, as a teacher, administrator and an educator of educators. He has been superintendent, principal and athletic director of Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Students in our schools succeed because they are quality students focused on preparing for their future. We feel our staff and administration support student learning and educational opportunities that will ensure they prepare for career or college.

Board President Mark Pollock said that Dr. Miller emerged from a very thorough search process as the right candidate to lead the District. “The Board is certain in our choice of Dr. Miller and confident that under his leadership USD 255 will continue to be recognized for guiding students along their paths.

Mark Pollock, Board President, explained that community input, including the involvement of a committee of stakeholders, was a key factor in the success of the superintendent search process. The committee included teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. “The input from the community as a whole was very helpful to our process.”

The Board selected three finalists, who were interviewed by the Board.

As a board team, we feel we made the right selection to serve our students and our community.

Coggins Places in Three Events at State

South Barber junior Cole Coggins placed in all three events he took to the Kansas State Track & Field Championships last weekend at WSU’s Cessna Stadium in Wichita. Cole took 3rd place in the 300 meter hurdles in a time of 41.83 seconds, finished 3rd in the 200 meter dash with a clocking of 23.68, and placed 7th in the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 16.92 seconds. He was the only Chieftain athlete to qualify for State this year and earned all 14 points for his team. South Barber tied for 13th place overall. Photo by Nikki Hightree, Hightree Photography

 

Karlissa Little Crowned “Miss South Barber”

South Barber junior Karlissa Little was crowned “Miss South Barber” Wednesday afternoon, May 9, in one of the most entertaining and competitive pageants in recent memory. Karlissa will represent her school at various events throughout the coming year and will also compete next fall in the “Miss Cinderella Pageant” held during homecoming festivities at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. Other junior girls competing for the title were Kathleen Martin, ReAnna Dunlap and Haylie Drake. See this week’s newspaper for more photos.

 

Council Votes to Hold Special Election July 10 on Term Limits, Pool to Open on Schedule

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Kiowa voters will head to the polls Tuesday, July 10, to decide whether or not the city should have term limits for the mayor and city council elected positions.

A petition presented in April to the council was determined to have enough valid signatures to bring the issue to a vote, and council agreed at its May 7 meeting to call a special election on July 10 to allow voters to determine the issue.

Kiowa had operated for several years with a limit of two terms for elected officials, but earlier this year the city council passed Charter Ordinance 18-018 eliminating the term limits, citing among other things the difficulty finding candidates to run for vacancies when they became open.

The question voters will be asked on the July 10 ballot is whether the charter ordinance eliminating term limits should go into effect or not. Registered voters in the City of Kiowa will cast ballots at the Kiowa Community Building. Estimated cost of the special election is $3,500 – $4,500.

Council president Bill Watson conducted the monthly meeting as Mayor Ron Rohr was under the weather. Other council members present were R.L. Simpson (by speakerphone), Tom Wells, Brian Hill and Russ Molz.

Accusations on Social Media

After approval of the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment, council heard from William Wilburn, owner of Kiowa Construction, who informed the group of false accusations going around town and on Facebook that he felt were trying to destroy he and his family. At first, he said, he thought it was a member of the council that had spread the rumors, but after talking with that member he realized it was not him and apologized. He said he has acquired an attorney and is “going after” the person or persons he feels are responsible for the false statements.

Also under public comments, Christina Duvall asked about the sidewalk around the corner of 7th and Main, which are in bad shape due to the settling of the ground where the former bowling alley building was located. Council confirmed that the city now has control of the property and a plan is being devised for the sidewalks when the ground becomes more stable.

Annual Appointments

Mayor Rohr had prepared a list of annual appointments that were presented to council for approval, and all passed unanimously. Those appointments are: Municipal Judge, Rich Befort; City Attorney, Laurel McClellan, City Treasurer, Rex Zimmerman; City Clerk, Trish Brewer; Fire Chief, Bill Duvall; Asst. Fire Chief, Roger Robison. No Chief of Police was appointed as the city is still accepting applications for review.

Barber County United

Council next heard from Donna Williams, Aimee Williams and Judy Schrock from Barber County United, which is a new organization designed to help county residents with such things as mental health issues, drug addiction and abuse, and other issues to help improve the quality of life for citizens.

The group has received a $254,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation over a two-year period and is now working on setting up a non-profit organization. It hopes to set up offices in both Kiowa and Medicine Lodge. The group evolved from a survey by the Barber County Health Coalition that found a need for these services in the county.

Donna Williams said the group wants to give people a “real hand up, not a hand out” to improve the quality of living and health for county residents, and she encouraged a member of the city council to attend their next meeting, June 7, 10:30 a.m. at Grace Bible Fellowship. Council expressed its support for the organization and its goals.

Building Committee Plans

The Building Committee appointed by council to develop plans for remodeling of the new and current city offices presented their overall plans for council’s review. Most members felt the plans were well thought out with City Clerk Trish Brewer answering questions from the group.

The Building Committee and Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 15, at 8:00 a.m. to review final plans and get them ready to put out for bids.

Power Purchase Agreement

Council next approved Ordinance No. 18-287 for future purchases of electricity from the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA). The city currently purchases electricity through KMEA and when its current agreement expires at the end of 2020, it plans to purchase power with NextEra Energy Marketing, LLC, also through KMEA. This agreement will begin in 2021 and will lock in the city energy prices for six years at a very good rate for both regular usage and peak usage. This will allow the city to budget expenses knowing what its electric costs will be for those years, and will also help city electric users by helping keep rates and property taxes stable. It could also help the city attract new residents and businesses, as the city’s rates are already some of the lowest in the region.

Council unanimously voted to pass the agreement.

Third Grade Request

For the second year, the city administrator has been helping teach Becky Buckle’s third grade class about the workings of city government. Mr. Leone told students that there are five ways citizens can participate- by voting, organizing petitions, calling their elected representatives, going to meetings, and talking with professional staff members to help resolve questions.

He said he wanted even third graders to know that “everybody has a voice” and to that end, the third graders made a special request of the council. They asked that council consider installing a trampoline park, and council respectfully took their request under consideration.

Administrator’s Report

City Administrator Lou Leone noted in his report that the Library roof is now fixed and looks great, and a crew from Caterpillar was scheduled to come last week and find and fix the problems with the new generator, which had water in the fuel that did damage. It is all covered by warranty.

He also received permission to hire temporary summer help, subject to recommendation by Street Supt. Gary Johnson, and also received approval from council to put the old police cars out for auction on Purple Wave, a website where police and other vehicles are bought and sold.

Pool To Open On Schedule

Mr. Leone also said the Kiowa Swimming Pool will open on schedule on Memorial Day, May 28, even though the new pool house may not be completed by then. Negotiations with the city’s insurance company delayed progress this winter but the new pool house will be brought up to ADA standards and be better then ever, all paid for by insurance. The foundation for the new shade area on the northwest corner of the pool will also be poured at the same time the pool house foundation is poured.

Also during the meeting, the city administrator showed videos and pictures to council from recent meetings he has attended, and also a video of the poor shape the Police Dept. building was in following the dismissal of the former Police Chief.

In other action, council:

  • Voted to sign a contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield for health and dental insurance coverage for city employees for another year with no changes in coverage. The premiums are going up 12.6%, the city administrator said, but the city had budged for up to a 20% increase.
  • Designated May 20-26 as Public Works Week and approved a proclamation for the mayor to sign.
  • Discussed check signing procedures with City Attorney Laurel McClellan.
  • Were told that Bob Hays has reimbursed the city for $6,352 for 18 new aluminum tables and carrier for the Community Building. Council thanked Mr. Hays for his generosity.
  • Discussed the recent passage by the Kansas Legislature of a bill to create a Task Force to review the internet grid in Kansas and find area that need improvement in quality and availability, especially in rural areas like Kiowa. The city administrator was one of several persons who had testified before the legislature on the need for such action.
  • Were informed that the city has received a reimbursement from EMC insurance company, which covers the city, for over $9,000 which will be put into the General Fund.

After an executive session, council voted to temporarily expand city employee Ronnie McKitrick’s duties to include animal control, with financial compensation based on the city administrator’s recommendation.

Commencement Sunday for South Barber Seniors

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Thirteen seniors will receive diplomas on Sunday, May 13, 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, Savannah Hughbanks and Taylor Pollock, will lead the seniors to their seats during the Processional, played by Donita Ragan. Ushers will be Haylie Drake and Morgan Polson. High school Principal Brent Shaffer will welcome the students and guests to graduation. He will be followed by the Class President’s address by Slater Blick.

A vocal solo, “The Prayer”, by senior Joseph Bowden will be followed by the Salutatory Address by Idallis Shaffer and the Valedictory Address by Trae Rathgeber.

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 Deb Helfrich.

South Barber Class of 2018 members are: Kadin Allen Banks, Slater Eugene Blick, Joseph Benjamin Bowden, Kobe Alan Carey, Justin Barry McLeod, Eric Costelli Paozin,

Trae Alan Rathgeber, Idallis Shaquiel Shaffer, Kaleigh Lynn Velasquez, Dakota Ray Vickers, Cody Gates Weber, Glenna Maxine Williams and Kylee Brooke Wright.

Be sure to view the Senior Page this week’s print edition.

City to Hold Special Election July 10 on Term Limits

The Kiowa City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to hold a Special Election on Tuesday, July 10, to decide the question on whether the city should have term limits or not. A Charter Ordinance passed earlier this year eliminated the two-term limits that had previously been in place for council and mayor positions, but a valid petition was presented to the council demanding a vote on the issue. Cost for the special election is estimated by the County Clerk’s office to be between $3,500 and $4,500.

Council also approved the mayor’s annual appointments, agreed to join a new group to purchase electricity beginning in 2021 that would lock in the price the city pays for six years, and voted to have city employee Ronnie McKitrick handle animal control duties matters along with his other duties.

Check next week’s newspaper for complete story.

Big Weekend in Kiowa with Pioneer Days, Big Kansas Road Trip and Lots More!

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Kiowa will be buzzing with activity this weekend as the community celebrates Pioneer Days on Saturday along with several other events, including the “Big Kansas Road Trip” scheduled for Thursday through Sunday. While nobody really knows how many travelers from across the state will make it down to Kiowa, the town is ready with lots of shopping opportunities and great restaurants.

Kiowa Chamber of Commerce representative De Coyle also plans to the at the Statue Park at the corner of 4th and Main to present visitors with a replica Land Run Certificate in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893.

Tennis Tournament Friday

Friday will also find visitors and athletes from across western Kansas coming to Kiowa to attend the 3-2-1A Regional Tennis Tournament, which kicks off at 10:00 a.m. on the local courts. In addition to South Barber, other teams competing are Chaparral, Cimarron, Colby, Meade, Scott Community and Wakeeney-Trego County.

Busy Saturday

There will also be lots of activities downtown on Saturday highlighted by the annual Pioneer Parade at 11:00 a.m. down Main Street. It’s always fun to watch the cowboys drive their herd of steers down the street. For those wanting to watch a bunch of cowboys do their thing, team roping action begins at 1:00 p.m. at Miller Arena, located in the southeast edge of town.

The Pioneer Skit follows the parade at the corner of 7th and Main and is always a lot of fun. Kiowa’s very own “Ropeman” Buddy Williams will also be on hand to teach young and old how to make a rope the way the Pioneers did.

The Kiowa Historical Society will hold a Bake Sale at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Chief Theater. If you are a baker, please help donate items for sale. Drop them off at 9:00 a.m. Historical Society memberships will also be sold that day.

The Kiowa Museum will be open Saturday after the Pioneer Skit. Tickets for the Henry Gold Boy rifle raffle will also be on sale by the Historical Society.

A Model Horse Show will be held Saturday at the Kiowa Senior Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. Model horse lovers are invited to decorate their horses and drop them off Friday evening at the Center from 5-7 p.m. or before 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Judging will be completed by noon and ribbons will be awarded for Best in Show, Halter Class and Western Class. For more information look up Breyer Model Horse Shows for fun ideas on how to display hour horse or contact De Coyle (580-829-3297) or Amanda Stauffer (580-748-1832).

And if all the above isn’t enough to keep everyone busy, Kiowa is hosting a large Youth Soccer League tournament on Saturday at the high school. Youngsters from throughout the area, along with their parents and grandparents, are expected to attend and hopefully will make it downtown to enjoy the day as well.

It should be a great weekend to enjoy the simple pleasures that life in a small town can offer.