By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
COVID vaccine volunteers honored
Commission recognizes those who made the clinics happen
covid clinic volunteers
Those who volunteered to help with Barton County’s COVID-19 joined othes packing the Barton County Commission chamber Monday morning as the volunteers were honored for their efforts.

It was a time to thank those involved in making Barton County COVID-19 vaccination clinics happen Monday morning. The County Commission took time to honor the volunteers who made the events happen.

“We wanted to bring our volunteers in and thank them for all their countless hours of work,” Health Director Karen Winkelman said. “These volunteers have served countless hours in the rain and freezing temperatures, providing assistance and delivering 5,175 prime doses and 3,548 booster doses to date, for a total of 8,723 doses of vaccine.”

Their willingness to give so freely of their time and service is greatly appreciated, she said, presenting each with a plaque. “And their support of public health allows us to serve people in the community, providing access to vaccine that they may not have otherwise gotten.”

Winkelman also noted that, besides vaccinations, these volunteers “brought a lot of joy and humor and laughter to our group.”

Some provided music, some celebrations and some made artistic wreaths out of empty vaccine vials. She also recounted tales of freezing pickle juice and pizza being kept warm on a running car engine, and candy being handed out as they worked.

Recognized were county commissioners Kirby Krier and Shawn Hutchinson, Kathy Krier, Roger Krier, Duane Reif, Debbie Reif, Preston Moore, Alison Moore, Communications Director Dena Popp, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman, Great Bend Emergency Medical Services, Randy Smith and the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Thank you all. Words just aren’t enough,” Winkelman said. “Thank you for all of your support and time that you have given us and the community to make all of this happen.”

However, all those recognized turned the praise back on Winkelman, Sheriff Brian Bellendir and County Administrator Phil Hathcock. “I don’t deserve a plaque. You guys deserve a plaque,” Hutchinson said, summarizing the feelings of those present..

 “This is so reminiscent of how folks in Barton County pull together on an issue,” said commission Chairman Jim Daily, District 4. “This goes on every time this happens, and we really appreciate it.”

“It shows the strength of Barton County, and anytime something happens, we pull together,” District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld said.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Recognized the volunteers for COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The Barton County Health Department has been assisted by volunteers at each of the COVID 19 Vaccination Clinics that have been held almost weekly since January, said Health Director Karen Winkelman. 

•  Approved a proclamation for World Autism Acceptance Month.

This is recognized on April 2 by presidential proclamation. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today, said Ros Neeland, chairman of the Autism Committee and Autism Workshop for the Great Bend Pilot Club.  

In support of those individuals and their families facing life with autism spectrum disorders, the commission was asked to adopt a proclamation.  

• Reappointed Rusty Carson, Toni Rice and Penelope Gullett to the Barton County Planning Commission to uncompensated three-year terms that expire in June 2024.

The county has sought applicants for the Planning Commission. The focus of the Planning Commission is to plan for the proper growth and development of Barton County through the enactment of planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare.  

Although all applicants must reside in Barton County, the majority of members must be from the unincorporated area, said Environmental Manager Judy Goreham.

“I can’t say enough about this board,” Goreham said.

There is one opening for a position that terms next year, Goreham said someone has expressed an interest in applying.

• Appointed Toni Rice and Ginger Herrman to the Memorial Parks Advisory Committee.

The committee is charged with advising and assisting the commission regarding the care and maintenance of the Barton County-owned Golden Belt and Hillcrest memorial parks, said County Works Director Darren Williams. With not less than five, nor more than seven members, there were two positions open. 

• Approved the purchase of seven refurbished Motorola XTL 2500 radios, antennas and installation at a costs not to exceed $3,500 for the Noxious Weed Department.

•  Approved a bid from L&M Construction of $294,531.90 for the Redwing intersection improvement project.

• Heard a complaint from Pat Streck. He discussed a fire damaged house near the Ellinwood city limits. At issue is a house at 211 E St. that burned two years ago.

Streck said the structure is 100 yards from the playground belonging to the Ellinwood Heights low-income housing complex and is an “attractive nuisance” where children could be hurt. It is also an eye sore that could harm property values for the surrounding homes.

Although county officials have tried for years to do something, the county doesn’t have the legal authority to raze the house, Streck was told. However, several options are being studied.

Streck also presented a petition signed by city officials and area residents.