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County seeing increase in STDs
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 Barton County is seeing an upswing in sexually transmitted infections in all age and income ranges, Health Director Shelly Schneider told the County Commission Tuesday morning. 

“We have seen an upswing in chlamydia and gonorrhea predominately,” she said. Unprotected sex with numerous partners seems to be the issue.

The reason for the increase is unknown, she said. However, acceptance, drugs, alcohol and social media play into this.

“It is very important to use protection to avoid these infections,” she said. 

In another disturbing trend, she said her staff is collaborating on human trafficking. “It is here in Barton County now, not just big cities.”

 These were part of County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s bi-weekly departmental update. Other highlights included:

Health Department

• Influenza is now active in Kansas. The Health Department still has Influenza vaccine available. 

• Staff is working to raise awareness with human papilloma virus vaccine with the end result of increasing immunization rates. The department, in collaboration with Clara Barton Hospital, Heartland Cancer Center, Heartland Regional Health Clinic and Midwest Cancer Alliance, is hosting a HPV Documentary Viewing from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Golden Belt Cinema 6 in Great Bend. 

There will be a panel discussion on HPV and the direct connection to cancer. There will be vaccines available at the event, if insurance information is provided.

• The Health Department is currently working on Grants for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2017 with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. We are applying for two more grants, one of which is the Teen Pregnancy Targeted Case Management grant and the other is a Children with Special Health Care Needs grant. 


County Engineer Barry McManaman

• Conducted the selection committee meeting for the five-year Consultant On-Call Inspection Agreement. Kirkham Michael and Associates of Ellsworth was selected. Committee members were commissioners Homer Kruckenberg and Alicia Straub and two members of the Engineer’s Office staff.

• Submitted On-Call selection paperwork to the Kansas Department of Transportation, Bureau of Local Projects.

• Viewed potential project for concrete handrail replacements on two bridges.

• Performed project surveying and paperwork for bridge north of Beaver.

• Looked at drainage hydraulics for pipes in Lakin Township.


Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips

Road and Bridge 

• Crews cleaned silt from ditches in the Heizer area completing 105 hours of labor and equipment costs ($ 4,065).

• Snow and Ice removal during the period totaled 45 hours at a cost of $4,538.30 for labor, equipment and materials.

• Shoulder repair on Boyd Road was completed at a cost of $22,434.71 for labor, materials and equipment.

• 658 tons of sand was hauled to sand lot locations. Staff worked 37 hours pumping sand producing 2,150 yards of sand. 

• Sign crews made and installed 46 signs at a cost of $1,975 utilizing 144 hours of labor.

Noxious Weed

• Planning for the 2016 spray season continues along with determining education schedule.

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock

In the last reporting period, the Barton County Landfill took in:

• 823 tons of municipal solid waste

• 473 tons of construction/demolition waste

• 1,217 tons of special waste

• 565 loads of waste received for disposal

• $70,562.92 of revenue generated through disposal fees

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock wants to remind residents that if the wind speed is above 30 miles per hour or gusting over 35 mph, the Landfill will close to minimize blowing litter. If it is windy, he advised people to call ahead before making the trip.

To find out about closings, or for information regarding recycling, household hazardous waste, or regular household waste, call the Landfill at 620-)793-1898.

Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller

• On Jan. 26, the Barton County Local Emergency Planning Committee, sponsored by Barton County Emergency Management, held its first quarterly meeting of 2016. The committee elected Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller, chairperson, and Solid Waste Manager Phil Hathcock, vice-chairperson. 

Miller informed the committee that Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed March 14-18. In addition, Miller said that Storm Fury on the Plains, the annual severe weather safety meeting, will be March 8 at the Crest Theater in Great Bend. It will be offered at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and as always the public is invited to attend.

• On Jan. 20, Miller participated in a South Central Health Care Coalition Ebola Tabletop Exercise in Wichita. Hospitals, emergency managers and public health departments in the 19-County South Central Health Care Coalition area participated in the event. Participants discussed and reviewed plans on how to implement emergency response activities to respond to a biological event such as Ebola, discussed participating agencies plans to protect the health and safety of responders, and identified how to share information between agencies and provide appropriate information to the public.

County Treasurer Kevin Wondra

• The Treasurer’s Office processed a total of 1,084 motor vehicle transactions between Jan. 28 and Feb. 11. Of those, 616 were renewals for vehicles and 239 were new titles. In the past two weeks, personnel has also renewed 382 commercial vehicles. 

• All the delinquent properties marked for the tax sale have been sent to abstract. There are currently 123 properties listed. 

• The bookkeepers are in the process of reconciling the bank accounts. All daily work is current.