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Great Bend City Council commends Humane Society for turnaround
new deh city council humane society pic
The Golden Belt Humane Society officials gave an update on the facility during the Great Bend City Council meeting Monday night. - photo by Tribune file photo

  In other business Monday night, the City Council:

• Approved various street closures for the March of Champions 2015 planned for July 14 to provide space for staging and parking. Drum and bugle corps event organizer Ron Straub and Public Lands Director Scott Keeler have worked on meeting the needs for the event. 

Approved were closures of Morton Street between 19th to 21st from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 21st Street between Morton and Odell from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. These times might be requested to be adjusted slightly.

Straub said there will be seven teams featuring over 1,000 members performing. 

This is the first time in nine years that such a show has come to Great Bend. This event started as an exhibit at the Great Bend Public Library, expanded to include a reunion of Argonne Rebel members and finally grew to include the show.

Straub said this show usually takes place in Wichita, but a Great Bend native helped bring it here this year.

“It will be a really good evening,” Straub said.

Tickets are on sale at, or at Walmart and First Kansas Bank locations in Great Bend, Hoisington and Claflin.

• Approved the resignation of City Engineer Rob Winiecke.

“It is with a heavy heart and great difficulty” Winiecke said regarding his decision to resign. His leaving is effective July 24.

“I am looking forward to pursuing new professional opportunities and challenges,” he said in a letter to City Administrator Howard Partington.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the City’s Engineer for these past five-plus years,” he said. “I will always be proud of the opportunity I have had to work with so many talented, dedicated and committed professionals of the City’s Administration and the residents of the City of Great Bend.”

He said he will treasure the friendships and relationships he has made. “I wish the city all the best in the future. Great Bend will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

• Approved the annual list of business licenses from businesses requesting licenses for the upcoming year.  

• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the acceptance of a Federal Aviation Administration grant for an airport fire truck and building. Airport Manager Martin Miller said the FAA has committed to participate with its 90 percent share of the costs of purchasing the new fire truck and building. The total estimated cost, under two separate grants, is $742,000 and the City’s share is estimated at $74,200. 

The grant offer was delayed until late in the FAA’s funding cycle, and required the city’s signed commitment prior to the next council meeting. Miller said the city didn’t expect to be eligible for this money.

• Approved abatements at:

1721 Stone St. for accumulation of refuse, owned by Minnie, Shalonda and Salima Watson

2923 22nd St. for accumulation of refuse, owned by Timberland Properties

1714 Van Buren for accumulation of refuse, owned by Eric Morrell

133 Maple St. for accumulation of refuse, owned by Sophia Nelson

2214 Tyler St. for motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Dorothy Keenan

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes who gave a wrap-up of the fourth-annual June Jaunt, which took place June 5-7.

• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Howard Partington.

 Members of the Great Bend City Council Monday night congratulated Golden Belt Humane Society officials for what they termed marked improvements in how it handles animals and the public. 

“I really like the way the Humane Society has turned around its operations,” said Councilman Wayne Henneke, who first worked with the society as city clerk. “When I first started here many years ago, it was more of a killing facility.”

“It’s not just one person, its a multitude of people that have helped with that,” said society Director Heather Acheson. “The community is also more involved with the things we are doing. We’re thriving.”

Humane Society Board member Ken Roberts requested an opportunity to update the council on its activities. It was Acheson who made the presentation.

In 2014, Acheson said GBHS took in 1,552 animals for an average 130 per month. Of those, 252 were euthanized, mostly due to aggression, or died in the society’s care from illness or injury.

“That’s a really good number,” the director said.

So far this year, Acheson said they are taking in about 100 each month. She projects a total similar to 2014 by year’s end.

As for euthanization, she said they are taking steps to reduce the numbers. “We have networked out to different rescues and different shelters to help take some of the animals that have been there quite a while.”

These places have been very helpful and successful and finding homes for homeless pets, she said.  

This is welcome news for the staff at the Humane Society. “We’ve so full the last few months in almost overwhelming,” she said. 

She also praised the efforts of the adopt-a-pet program that serves as fundraiser. Money generated helps lower adoption fees, pay for medical treatment, and purchases supplies and equipment.

There were also several improvements at the society over the past year. Among these were:

• A six-foot privacy fence for animals that keeps them out of view. This was paid for mostly by a private donation.

• An old structure on the lot was razed.

• A new well was dug, which was also donated. 

• Approval for the sign on front of the main building to be changed to say just “Humane Society.”

• A new sidewalk has been installed and the parking lot has been redone, both of which make the property more wheelchair accessible.

• A cat wall was installed, allowing the viewing cats in “free-roaming environment.”

• Installed a computer based system for statistic reporting.

• Purchased a new animal control truck

Future plans include a gazebo in the backyard for staff and those walking animals and other improvements.  

The Golden Belt Humane Society serves all of Barton County. A large share of its funding comes from a monthly payment from Great Bend and a quarterly payment from the county.

Great Bend is asked to pitch in more because the majority of the society’s work is done within the city limits, Acheson said.