About a year ago, Great Bend planted a seed that should begin to bear fruit in a few years. Last week was the anniversary of the creation of the Great Bend Community Orchard. That's right--our community has an orchard of apple trees that someday we can picnic at, use for a photo backdrop, learn orcharding skills like pruning and grafting, harvest fruit from for community outreach projects or cooking classes through our Barton County Extension or Barton County Health Department.
Brooklyn, New York, born Don McPherson wasn't shy about sharing his appreciation of his new friends in Great Bend Tuesday. Here for one day to help spread the message that men have a part to play in raising awareness of and battling domestic and sexual violence, he wasn't afraid to share his bothersome concerns of what it means to be in tornado country in the springtime. It didn't make him any less a man. Quite the contrary.
The Hoisington City Council met Monday night and approved an annexation request from Kenny Schremmer for a property he owns located just south of the railroad tracks near Railroad Ave. and US 281. A developer has expressed interest in the property, and has conducted a variety of tests including water and soil tests, as well as a traffic assessment in recent weeks. At this time, Schremmer said, he is under contract with the party who intends to bring a Sonic Drive-in restaurant to the location.
Sexual and domestic violence continue to have a home here in Barton County, as they do everywhere else in the country. But the Family Crisis Center continues the battle to educate and end these crimes. Tuesday night, April 26, instead of the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, they are bringing to Great Bend a different type of Red Shoe event .
Barton County is fortunate in that our communities make an effort to invite legislators representing the constituents of our area to meet face to face. Likewise those representatives make an effort to attend events like legislative coffees like the one held Wednesday morning at Ellinwood.
State Treasurer Ron Estes presented the program at the Ellinwood Rotary Club Tuesday, April 19. He gave an informative talk about the state's efforts in returning unclaimed property to Kansans. Anything from payroll to the contents of safe deposit boxes are turned over to the state after five years if businesses are unable to find the owner and do so themselves, he said.
Since 2012, the Family Crisis Center Inc. has been working to raise awareness among the people in its service area to domestic and sexual violence through signature "Red Shoe" events leading up to the finale "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Many who have seen their male co-workers hobbling about in red high-heels as they raise funds for the cause have been persuaded to help, which has allowed the programs offered through the FCC to touch the lives of many, both locally and regionally.
Saturday morning, team members from both of Great Bend Middle School's soccer teams, the boys and the girls, gathered at the north end of Stone Lake to spend some quality time performing community service together. The original plan was to travel west on the Arkansas River levy bike path cleaning up trash, but with cold wind and cloudy skies threatening rain, they altered their plan and chose a shorter route. Starting at the parking lot and working their way around the lake to the entrance of the bike path, they would travel east to Fry St. on the path.
Several points of new business made for a long but informative Ellinwood City Council meeting Tuesday night. Mayor Irlan Fullbright congratulated returning council persons James McCormick and Kirk Clawson, as well as newly elected Ken Lebbin who will filled an open spot. Also-ran Kathy Hines was also in attendance at the meeting, and during visitor comments congratulated Lebbin for his success, before objecting to the decision to install Chris Komarek as the acting City Manager following Bud Newberry's resignation earlier in March.
The Heartland Center for Spirituality staff and advisory council is in the midst of planning and preparations for the second annual "Hero for Heartland" Afternoon Tea and Savory Delights. This event will take place on Sunday April 24 with a come and go Tea and Tours of the Great Bend Dominican Motherhouse from 1 – 4 p.m. Advisory council members Sr Jane Belanger, Carrie Buhler, Keith Funk, Danny Ginn, Dixie Heinrich, Ken Holderread, Pattie McGurk, Sclie Murray, Ken Moeder and Denise Wilkens along with committee members, Karen Axman, Mary Klinge and Judy Spangler have been instrumental in the planning stages.
The Hoisington City Council welcomed newly elected members and honored those retiring from service at Monday night's meeting. Nancy Farmer, Ward 1 and Jim Sekavec, Ward 2 both retired following last week's election. Both were presented plaques, recognizing their many years on the council.
Barton County business owners have noticed a surge in burglaries in recent years, and frustration is running high. In 2014, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's report on crimes known to law enforcement, Great Bend was number three in the state of Kansas for number of burglaries per 1,000 residents. Only Pittsburgh and Coffeyville were higher.