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Commission OKs grant to improve scenic overlook
new deh county commission recog award pic
Barton County Attorneys Office Legal Secretary Linda Eggers, third from left, receives the Employee Recognition Award from County Commission Chairman Don Cates Monday morning. Also pictured from left to right are Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg, Commissioner Don Davis, Employee Relations Committee member Wendy Prosser and Commissioner Kenny Schremmer. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Monday, the Barton County Commission:
• Appointed Hannalore Kitts to the Health Advisory Board. The seven-member board meets monthly, and reviews and makes recommendations on policies related to public health services in Barton County. The one uncompensated position, to be filled by a lay person, expires Dec. 31, 2014.
• Approved funding for the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging. The SWKAAA requested the matching funds from Barton County in the amount of $1,400. These funds, which would be used as “seed dollars,” are an equivalent match to the $409,903 in services received by older residents and low income families from Barton County. The County has traditionally provided this match from the Finance General Account of the General Fund. The county has given $1,500 in the past, but budgeted $1,400 this year.
• Approved the renewal of the county’s membership in the Kansas Association of Counties for $5,963.86. The dues are up $204.51 from 2012. The association sponsors the annual KAC Conference, various educational meetings throughout the year and lobbies the State and Federal Legislature on behalf of Kansas Counties. The KAC will also assist counties with budgeting, surveys and legislative efforts upon request.
• Heard an update on the activities of county departments from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.

The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved the county’s application for at grant to enhance the Cheyenne  Bottoms Scenic Overlook between Hoisington and Claflin just off K-4.
The county is joining with the Great Bend Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in seeking the Kansas Department of Transportation Transportation Enhancement Grant. The county and the KDWPT would each provide half of the required 20 percent match.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the purpose of the grant is to improve handicap accessibility, make the site more attractive and help increase tourism.
Currently, the overlook features a Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway welcome kiosk, in addition to a panoramic view of Cheyenne Bottoms. Under the grant, plans have been developed for a parking area, sidewalks and two high-powered mounted telescopes, all being handicapped accessible. 
Boeckman said the estimated cost for the project is $63,000. Of that, $60,600 is for the construction and concrete work and $2,700 for leasing the telescopes for three years from a company in Connecticut.
So, the state-local match comes to $12,660. The county’s share would be $6,330.
“I think this would be a great step forward as we develop the bottoms and the scenic byway,” commission Chairman Don Cates said.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” said Commissioner Kenny Schremmer, a strong advocate for the project. “This will be one of the most visited sites along the byway.”
The view is spectacular and there is a lot of history related to the area, he said. But, “when you grow up around it, you don’t appreciate it.”
The resolution approved Monday authorizes Cates to sign the application. The deadline is Feb. 15.
The county will help with the work, but Schremmer said KDWPT will maintain the site.
The KDOT grant draws funds from the Federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.
Honored employees
The Employee Relations Committee recommends outstanding individuals for the Employee Recognition Award. Generally, the recognition is given quarterly. Recognized was Linda Eggers, County Attorney’s Office legal secretary and criminal division\pool manager. Eggers was nominated by her fellow employees and singled out “for her ability to help others in unusual situations and for her attention to detail in making work assignments,” Cates said.
“These are tasks she doesn’t seem to mind,” said Wendy Prosser, county Employee Relations Committee member.
In addition, several Barton County employees are recognized for continuous service for five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. “It speaks very highly of Barton County to have employees who have stayed so long,” Prosser said.
Cates said he has often mentioned how efficiently the county is run. “It is my belief that all of your are the reason for that.”
Then, as Prosser read the names, each of the employees present received their certificates and shook the hands of commissioners.
Recognized were:
• Five-year employees: Tracy Miller, Appraiser’s Office; Tory Shaw, Central Kansas Community Corrections; Brittney Glenn, Communications; Liz Nolan, Communications; Faye Lamb, Treasurer’s Office; Kevin Wondra, county treasurer;l Melissa Hagerman, Health Department; Mike Moos, Road and Bridge Department; Denise Karst, Sheriff’s Office; and Monica McMillian, Sheriff’s Office.
• 10-year employee: Roxie Edwards, County Clerk’s Office.
• 15-year employees: Amy Boxberger, Community Corrections; Karen Winkelman, Health Department; and James Queen, Road and Bridge Department.
•  20-year employees: Ellen Fischer, Appraisers Office; Linda Eggers, County Attorney’s Office; Bob Folk, Noxious Weeds Department; John Sheets, Noxious Weeds Department; and Dave Paden, Sheriff’s Office.
• 25-year employee: Jim Hapes, Sheriff’s Office.
• 30-year employee: Kevin Jonas, Road and Bridge.