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.

 

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.

Dr. Andi Williams Resigns as School Superintendent

U.S.D. 255 Board of Education held a special meeting today (Wed.) to accept the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Andi Williams, effective June 30, 2018. Dr. Williams has accepted a position as Executive Director of Public Affairs and Special Projects for the Wichita Public Schools system. The board also passed a resolution to employ the Kansas Assn. of School Boards to assist in the search for a new school superintendent.

Pioneer Days Rescheduled for Weekend of May 5

Kiowa Chamber of Commerce co-president Janet Robison reports that the Pioneer Days activities scheduled for this weekend. They have been rescheduled for the weekend of May 5. She reported that John Miller had an issue securing livestock for his rodeo events that were planned for Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The weather forecast also calls for rains Friday evening and all day Saturday, which also played a major part in the decision to cancel the celebration. The May 5 weekend will also be the “Big Kansas Roadtrip” weekend, and May 5 will also have Kiowa hosting several Youth Soccer League games, with both events expected to bring many out of town visitors to the community.

5K Run Notice

The Kiowa Labor Day 5K Race is looking for another Race Co-director. Any person(s) interested in this position is asked to call Kent at 309-219-2626.

 

City Council Discusses New Office, Petitions at Special Meeting

By REX ZIMMERMAN

UPDATED 4/4/18: The Kiowa City Council met in special session Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to handle three items of business. All council members present were present- Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz, Brian Hill and Tom Wells- along with Mayor Ron Rohr.

City to Join WEDA

In opening business, council approved joining the World Economic Development Alliance (WEDA) for a six month trial period at a cost of $2,900. The alliance, headquartered in Dallas, TX, has contacts throughout the country and world and is focused on promoting and working to find business possibilities for rural areas.

City Administrator Lou Leone said WEDA works as a “job/business broker”. He added that there are two areas he is already looking at- ammunition manufacturers and telemarketing. Councilman Wells said he has seen WEDA’s efforts in Dumas, TX and noted that it seemed to really work well for that community. The city has $14,000 budgeted for economic development since it no longer is a member of the county’s economic development group.

Mr. Leone also said that a new website program has been purchased out of capital improvements fund for the city that will present a better looking site for viewers, including prospective businesses, while making it easier for city staff to keep updated.

New City Office Update

Council visited with John Terwort about the new city office and plans for remodeling. Terwort, who sold the building to the city, said that the closing date on the purchase is April 18, but he requested that council allow him to begin remodeling work on the building immediately as he is scheduled to be gone beginning in mid-May. He hoped he could get as much work done as possible before turning the remainder of the project over to another contractor.

Council gave approval for Mr. Terwort to work with the city administrator on the project to get things rolling. Along with that information, Mr. Leone said that he has already contacted two banks that are interested in financing the purchase and remodeling of the new building as well as the repair and remodel of the present city office, and one more local bank has also shown interest. Council agreed to hold a special meeting on Monday, April 9, at 8:00 a.m. to review a final plan for the city office project.

Petitions Discussed

City Attorney Laurel McClellan next gave council an update on a pair of petitions that were presented to the city.

The first petition was in reference to Ordinance 18-450, which was passed by council in February. That ordinance officially put the hiring and firing of city personnel under  the . Previous to that, the mayor was allowed to hire or fire personnel at will.

Mr. McClellan said that since the ordinance passed by council was a regular ordinance, it was not allowed to be challenged by a public petition, as that method of requesting a public vote is reserved only for charter ordinances.

One charter ordinance that was challenged by petition, however, was Ordinance 18-018, which council also passed in February and does away with the term limit regulation for council and mayor positions.

The city attorney reported that the petition did not meet the proper language requirements. It was not known if another petition would be circulated that meets the requirements. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect 61 days after its final publication in The Kiowa News, which was February 28.

The city administrator said that he could find no other city of Kiowa’s size (Class 3) that has term limits, and could find only six other cities in the entire state that still have term limits.

In final action, council was informed that health insurance would be a topic of discussion at the April 16 regular meeting, and that the city now controlled the vacant lot at the corner of 7th and Main where the former bowling alley was located, and that groups such as the Chamber of Commerce could now be allowed to use the property.

Easter Egg Hunt/Bike Races

The Kiowa Chamber of Commerce sponsored the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Bike/Trike Races Saturday afternoon in Progress Park.

Chieftains Take 3rd at State!

The South Barber Chieftain ended their season with an impressive 74-41 blowout over defending state champion Sharon Springs-Wallace County to bring home 3rd place honors at the Class 1A, Div. II State Basketball Tournament played at Dodge City last weekend. See this week’s newspaper for story and photos. 

South Barber Homecoming Royalty

Homecoming Royalty (left to right) in back are Emilio Perez, Eric Reimer, Dakota Vickers, Trae Rathgeber, Eric Paozin and Neal Gugelmeyer. Seated are Nora Gugelmeyer, Malayna McKitrick, Glenna Williams, Queen Kylee Wright, Kaleigh Velasquez and Haylie Drake. Kindergarten helpers in front are Carter Murrow, BaiLea Swonger, Mckenna Brattin and Julian Gutierrez.

City Council Fires Police Chief

In a late Monday night meeting, following lengthy executive sessions, the Kiowa City Council voted to terminate Police Chief Steven Johnson with cause. Council rejected an offer from Chief Johnson to resign prior to the firing. According to City Administrator Lou Leone, council offered a severance package to Chief Johnson, subject to his agreement to certain terms, due to his family’s medical situation. Watch next week for more on this story.