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D.A.R.E. essay winners recognized at Great Bend council meeting
Program encourages kids to fight abuse, stay away from drugs
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Pictured with Great Bend Mayor Joe Andrasek and D.A.R.E. officer Ethan Thomas are the 2019 first semester D.A.R.E. essay winners from Great Bend, along with their teachers. - photo by BY DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Monday night, the Great Bend City Council and the Great Bend Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program honored Great Bend fifth-grade students for writing top-notch essays as a part of the 2019 first semester D.A.R.E. classes.

The kids, their teachers and their parents filled the council chambers for the presentation. Mayor Joe Andrasek complimented the program that encourages teacher and parental involvement with the students to stay away from drugs.

“This was my first year teaching D.A.R.E.,” said Great Bend Police Department school liaison officer Ethan Thomas. It was a blast, I had a great bunch of kids.”

Honored with a “night on the town” were:   

• Eisenhower Elementary: Barb Thoren’s class, Baylee Scott and Joshua Manning; and Kenzie Unruh’s class, Hali Willinnberg and Chason Ramsey.

• Jefferson Elementary: Leann Miller’s class, Ashlynn Pio abd Kaylee Haag; and Stephanie Stephens’s class, Briella Torres and Zachary Goodenough.

• Lincoln Elementary: Jaime Byers’ class, Hayley Morrison and Kaden Pounds; and Amy Stein’s class, Kimmy Hofflinger and Megan Johnson.

• Park Elementary: Signe Cook’s class, Anyeli Armendariz and Karyme Vaquez; and Darla Saindon’s class, Yarlene Granados and Natalee Daniels.

• Riley Elementary: Mandy Stansfield’s class, Brissa Leyva and Ruby Valazquez; and Brenda Unrein’s class, Achael McReynolds and Mason Davison. 

As a part of the contest, students and their teachers were escorted and treated to dinner at Gambino’s Pizza before receiving recognition and a certificate from Andrasek.

One requirement of the 14-week D.A.R.E. curriculum is for students to write essays explaining what they have learned and why they have decided to make wise decisions concerning friendships, alcohol and drug use, Millard said. The student essays honored were chosen as the most outstanding essay from their respective schools that hosted the D.A.R.E. Program this past semester. 

Millard said the essays that talked about staying away from drugs and alcohol, not smoking and ways to combat bullying and ideas on coping with stress.

D.A.R.E. also teaches students important lessons and encourages a healthy lifestyle that can bring personal achievement and benefit society as they grow up and become involved in their community, Millard said. 

The winning essays will be sent on to compete at the state level.

Millard also took time to congratulate Riley D.A.R.E. officer Paul Leiker. This marked his last year working with the program.

For more information on the program, call Millard at the GBPD, 620-793-4120.

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City Administrator Kendal Francis and City Clerk Shawna Schafer recognize outgoing council members Joel Jackson, Vicki Berryman and Cory Zimmerman for their years of service. Council members and Mayor Joe Andrasek took turns thanking the three for their years on the council and for their dedicated service. Jackson had served 10 years in two separate terms, Berryman four years and Zimmerman two years. - photo by BY DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• City Administrator Kendal Francis and City Clerk Shawna Schafer recognized outgoing council members Joel Jackson, Vicki Berryman and Cory Zimmerman for their years of service.

• Held a 60-minute executive session to evaluate City Administrator Kendal Francis. The contract with Francis required that a review be carried out after six months of employment. At the time of the employment review, Francis could receive up to a 2 percent pay increase, which was granted Monday night. The raise is on top of a base salary of $107,000.

• Approve waiving building permits and utility tap fees for Housing Opportunities Inc. for a new development of senior citizen housing in Great Bend. Also approved was the city’s covering the cost of the extension of a nearby water main for $12,560.

HOI is applying for tax credits through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation to build a 24-unit rental housing development for senior citizens. In support of its application, HOI is  requesting in-kind assistance from the city in the form of waived fees and the extension of the water main.

• Recognized the D.A.R.E. essay winners.

• A lease agreement with Ivan Perales failed due to a lack of a motion. The city owns real estate located on SE 10 Road just south and east of the Arkansas River Bridge. Perales requested to lease approximately 8.8 acres on a five-year lease at $500 per year.  

The matter met with stiff resistance from others who live in the area.

• Approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the agreements with the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad Company relative to the construction and maintenance of railway-highway crossing signals, flashing light straight post type and gates at a grade crossing on Lincoln Street.

The city is responsible for providing the advance warning signs at a cost of $156.80, Public Works Assistant Director Simon Wiley said.

• Approved an abatement at 408 Almond, for accumulation of trash and refuse, owned by Travis Watkins.

• Heard a community update from Francis.

• Heard an economic development update from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters. She focused on important chamber events coming in 2019.