By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
County renews lease for wildlife area
new deh county update nature area pic
Two new signs installed by the county mark the location of a wildlife habitat in South Hoisington. It is being developed by Terry Nech. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 Officials warn of hypothermia


It is winter after all and Winter weather and colder temperatures can be expected for several more weeks.

Barton County Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller would like to remind everyone to be alert to the danger signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when a body loses heat faster than it produces it and anyone can be at risk for hypothermia.

Conditions that can lead to hypothermia include:

• Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for weather conditions

• Staying out in the cold too long

• Unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry location

• Accidental falls in water, as in a boating accident

• Inadequate heating in the home, especially for older people and infants

• Air conditioning that is too cold, especially for older people and infants

Although shivering may be the first thing someone may notice as the temperature drops there are other symptoms of mild hypothermia including:

• Dizziness

• Hunger

• Nausea

• Faster breathing

• Trouble speaking

• Slight confusion

• Lack of coordination

• Fatigue

• Increased heart rate

The advice was part of County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s bi-weekly departmental update. Other topics included:

County Engineer Barry McManaman

• Participated in a telephone conference call with the Kansas Department of Transportation Local Projects personnel concerning the Local Road Safety Plan. Reviewed agreement for the plan and contacted involved agencies.

• Discussed construction dates with KDOT local office on the K-4 scenic overlook tower and paving projects that are in the February letting. Working on construction engineering agreement with KDOT for inspection of overlook tower projects.

• Began permit process for Hambright Oil natural gas line in western part of county.

Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips

• Continued with signage projects.

• New signs and posts were erected on North Washington and North McKinley roadsides. Sign repairs were made as high winds caused damages over the past two weeks. In the first 12 days of the year, Road and Bridge has fixed, installed or repaired 60 signs.

• Staff performed bridge work along with culvert repairs and installations.

• Sand was pumped as the weather allowed.

• Sand was hauled to storage areas.

• Crews picked up roadside trash were it was dumped along roadsides.

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock

In the past reporting period:

• 564 tons of municipal solid waste

• 82 tons of construction/demolition waste

• 53 tons of special waste

• 293 loads of waste received for disposal

• $26,205.34 of revenue generated through disposal fees

Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller

• A Defensive Driving Class has been scheduled by Amy Miller, risk manager, for Jan. 21. Barton County employees who operate a County vehicle are required to take a safe driving class every three years. 

• The South Central Homeland Security Regional Council met Jan. 14 to review progress on FY2014 and FY2015 projects for the region. Barton County was the recipient in 2015 of a light tower through one of the FY2014 projects through the Regional Council. The Council will now begin the process of developing projects to submit for the FY2016 grant period. That grant period will be announced later in spring 2016 by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Miller is the representative for Barton County on the Regional Council.

 Thanking Terry Nech for his efforts to develop county-owned property south of Hoisington into a nature area, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved renewing his lease for the land.

Nech was first granted a three-year lease in 2013 for the ground the county acquired from the Federal Emergency Management area following the 2001 Hoisington tornado. The agreement allowed for a three-year extension.

“I appreciate this,” Nech said. He leases the lot at no cost, but pays for all the improvements and upkeep.

The county was deeded the 2.9 acres in 2002 by FEMA. However, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said there were stringent restrictions on what could be done with it.

Located in what is known as South Hoisington at the intersection of South Vine and Missouri Pacific streets, the area was prone to frequent flooding. “Essentially, nothing could be done that would hinder the flood way or flood plain or that land,” Boeckman said. 

Then, three years ago, Nech, a Hoisington resident, approached the county with his proposal. He wanted to establish a wildlife habitat and observation area at the site.

He envisioned a place for all wildlife, especially birds and pollinators with walking trails and benches so people could enjoy site as well. In addition, he would plant ground cover to prevent erosion and refrain from spraying chemicals.

“The area would be available for everyone to be able to use,” Nech said. The only wheeled vehicles allowed are those used by the handicapped.

He has plans to further develop the area as well, he said.

“With some of the accomplishments, it appears to me that he is meeting the terms of the agreement with the county,” Boeckman said in recommending the renewal.

“Thank for all effort,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “It’s county land but you take personal responsibility.”

All the work is at Nech’s expense, she said.

“I look at it as an old retired person,” said Nech who is a retired teacher that has helped with other such sites. “If I can do something to give back to the city of Hoisington and the county, that’s what I intend to do.

Just recently, The Barton County Road and Bridge Department installed two green signs that read “Nature Area” to mark the location.