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Downtown promotion to change for new year
new deh city update photo
Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison, center, shows his appreciation for Eugene Finch, operator II, left, and Charlie Suchy, utility superintendent, during the City Council meeting Monday night as they were recognized for 25 years of service to the city. They were among several employees honored for either 10 or 25 years. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

At a retail roundtable meeting Dec. 10, Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes, other officials and local business leaders decided to revamp the downtown promotional program known as Thank You Thursdays.
In its first year, the weekly event featured expanded hours for several businesses, as well as other special activities such as City Band concerts and a farmers market. However, City Administrator Howard Partington told the City Council Monday night that will change.
Instead of every week, it will take place only on the third week of the month for 2013. “Christina will work to promote the dates and ensure that it’s made into a big event to attract shoppers,” Partington said.
Plans were also discussed for other upcoming retail events like the Icy Sidewalk Sale on Jan. 19
Discussion of the roundtable was part of Partington’s update on the activities of various city departments in the past couple weeks presented during the council meeting Monday. Below are other highlights of his report.
Public Works
• Cutting trees out of the Lischesky ditch.
• Poured 116 yards of concrete on Kansas Avenue south of Seventh Street in front of the entrance into the Coop scales, where heavy traffic has damaged the existing concrete.
• Addressed an odor complaint at 1624 Polk. A lengthy investigation found the home owner had several vent issues and a sewer clean-out that had been plugged by a contractor. The problem was taken care of.
• Sanitarian reports 951 year to date complaints, three new complaints (two from citizens and one by staff), 26 complaints completed by citizens, four abatements performed and 12 cars removed.
• Dec. 5 – Officer Jefferson Davis and Susie Guenther attended the Farmer’s Bank Holiday Event for charitable organizations. Received a $200 donation for the D.A.R.E. program.
• America’s Promise Wal-Mart shopping event, Chamber of Commerce Coffee at Community Bank of the Midwest, and steering committee meeting.
• Dec. 7 – Davis did a “True Lies” presentation at the Barton County Health Department.
• Davis and Guenther attended a follow-up meeting on College to Community Day at Barton Community College.
• Dec. 11 and 12 – Training for all officers on familiarization with new equipment that was purchased for the Entry Team.
• Two firefighters have passed their six-month probation testing.
• All shifts were able to get some good practical training on a house that the school had scheduled for demolition. (This was training that could not be conducted in the training tower, such as working on the roof, cutting ventilation holes, and breaching interior walls.
• Mark Orth participated in Americans Promise.
• City Inspector Lee Schneider continues to work on plans for Family Dollar and other businesses.
• Working with America’s Promise Steering Committee to apply for the “100 Best Communities for Young People” Award, will come to present to City Council with more information in January.
• Started getting assistance from Great Bend High School Student Sara Mcafee, Sara will assist with calendar updates, website upkeep, social media, behind the scenes planning and various other projects.
• The city plans to participate in the second year of the June Jaunt, and Hayes has been working on early planning. The city will participate at the same level as last year on both the regional and local level.
• Partington attended the annual Kansas Association of City Administrators Conference in Dodge City. 
In other business at the Monday council meeting, Mayor Mike Allison appointed Richard Butler to the Commission on Aging.
 The council also recognized city employees who have served 10 or 25 years. The 10-year honorees included Michele Hitschmann, department secretary, Gaylen Clawson, assistant mechanic, Thomas Holmes, assistant sanitarian, Cecilia Heikkila, Municipal Court assistant, Dustin Spore, firefighter IV, Cynthia Esfeld, Municipal Court clerk, Karl Otter, engineering technician II, Joyce Suchy, police records clerk, Heather Smith, police detective, Megan Cates, administrative assistant, and Martin Miller, airport manager. The 25-year honorees were Eugene Finch, operator II, Walter Reynolds, operator II, and Charlie Suchy, utility superintendent.