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Statue of young soldier to be restored to original glory
new deh county commissionl rifleman statue pic
Shown is the statue The Rifleman on the north side of the Barton County Courthouse Square. The Barton County Historical Society is planning the 100th anniversary celebration of its dedication. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved payment of the final bill for the 2014 county audit from Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball. The firm has submitted the final billing and it includes the fee for the 2014 audit, a fee for the preparation of two single audits and a change order. The change order includes additional work required due to evaluation of Federal Awards expenditures. It also includes the evaluation of the 2013 tax roll reconciliation and lack of reconciled distributions for the Treasurer’s Office. The additional fees of $12,395 bring the total billing to $53,695. 

Of this additional expense, $4,110 was for the federal awards audit and $8,285 was a result of the problems in the Treasurer’s Office. 

To send a message, the commission voted to charge the $8,285 to the Treasure’s Office budget.

As a side note, it was mentioned that the sales tax distribution that was due out to taxing entities in the county Sept. 20 has yet to be made. This is a job done by the Treasurer’s Office.

County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said she has received calls from the City of Great Bend, Barton Community College, USD 428 and Ablion Township expressing their concerns over the delays.

• Accepted a dividend return check for $31,500 as a result of the county’s participation in the Kansas County Safety Dividend Group with Employer Mutual Insurance Companies from Cassidy Smith, Alliance Insurance Group. The money represents 13 percent of the county’s premium for property and casualty insurance and is part of n early $200,000 the county has been refunded over the past six years, Smith said.

Officials credited county department heads and all employees for their safe behavior.

• Approved a proclamation marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Given the number of victims touched by domestic violence, the importance of working with survivors and the need to hold perpetrators accountable, said Family Crisis Center Executive Director Laura Patzner. 

“This is something we as a community have to fight,” Patzner said. We all need to be more aware of the problem and willing to speak up and step in if necessary.

One in four women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence, she said. Although the problem in Barton County may not be getting worse, numbers are increasing because it is becoming easier to report.

The drug problem, the economic downturn and poverty are creating more complex cases, she said.

• Approved a Transfer of Property Agreement with South Central Kansas Regional Homeland Security Council. The council, through the North Central Regional Planning Commission, has awarded six tactical vests to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. The office will be responsible for maintaining the equipment on inventory and maintenance, said Emergency Rick Manager Amy Miller.

 In November, the Barton County Historical Society will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of “The Rifleman,” the original bronze statue by noted American sculptor Frederick C. Hibbard. To the north of the Barton County Courthouse, this likeness of a young man about 19 years of age stands eternal guard in defense of the Union, rifle and bayonet at the ready.

In honor of this, in October, statue will be professionally cleaned and restored in a project sponsored by the Barton County Historical Society and the City of Great Bend. The society is also planning a birthday party for the monument on Nov. 7. 

“This is important to do,” society Executive Director Bev Komarek told the Barton County Commission Monday morning. “We all want to be so proud of our county and so proud of who we are.”

Komarek said this is a wonderful opportunity. Not only will the statue be restored, but people handling the restoration will offer guidance on how to properly maintain the county’s landmarks in the future.

“We’re not only conserving this sculpture for this moment and this time,” Komarek said. “It’s been here for 100 years and we want to make sure it is here for another 100 years.”

The work will be performed by Ronald Harvey, of t Tuckerbrook Conservation, Lincolnville, Maine, who has restored monuments and collections in national parks and across the country. Komarek said he has offered his services at a reduced rate due to the importance of the piece.

The cost of the renovation is being covered with funds left over from the sale of the Grand Army of the Republic’s building at 1104 Main and from the city. However, she said the society could use help with the expenses for the Nov. 7 event.

The party will take place at 10 a.m. on that Saturday with a speaker and a reception to follow in Jack Kilby Plaza. Things will move inside of the courthouse if the weather is bad.

More information will be available as plans for the celebration are developed.

Dedicated to the members of Grand Army of the Republic, Pap Thomas Post 52, in Great Bend, this monument honors those who fought for the Union.

Hibbard studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Lorado Taft and, after serving as Taft’s assistant, established a studio of his own in Chicago. With a career spanning 44 years, Hibbard produced more than 70 major sculptures. 

Among the most significant are the monumental equestrian statue of General Ulysses S. Grant, which overlooks the battlefield at Vicksburg, Miss., and the Confederate Monument at Shiloh Battlefield in Tennessee. “The Rifleman” was commissioned by Civil War veteran Ira D. Brougher of Great Bend, commander of the Department of Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic, and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives.