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Making a good first impression
New county website unveiled Monday morning
new deh county commission web honor pic
The Barton County Commission Monday morning honored two county employees who were instrumental in developing the countys new website. Commission Chairman Don Cates is shown presenting a plaque to County Cartographer B.J. Wooding. Environmental Manager Judy Goreham, far right, is holding her award. Also pictured are commissioners Homer Kruckenberg, Don Davis, Jennifer Schartz and Kenny Schremmer. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Commission learns of Take a Seat

Brandon Steinert, Director of Public Relations, Barton Community College, presented information on the college’s Take a Seat Program. A social media campaign is being used to raise awareness of the effort to remodel the Fine Arts Auditorium on the BCC campus. People are being encouraged to have their photo taken sitting in an auditorium seat, and have that picture posted on the college’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Those who do will be entered into a drawing and eligible to win a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.
But, the Take a Seat initiative involves more, Steinert said. It allows people to sponsor a BCC auditorium seat for $125. Monies raised go toward the ongoing renovation project which has a goal of $30,000.
Most of the remodeling has already been funded. The Take a Seat money will go towards lighting and audio equipment.
Donors will get their names on a plaque in the auditorium.
As a side note, the remodeling has reduced the number of seats from 820 to about 630. Fire codes and Americans with Disability Act requirements made this necessary. Besides, Steinert said, it was rare that all the seats would be fill anyway.
The new seat configuration will include front-to-back aisles down both sides of the facility, as well as a one wider side-to-side aisle about a third of the way down from the back.

Barton County has a new face to the world.
Like a bunch of proud new parents showing off a new baby, county officials unveiled the county’s extensively redesigned website to the County Commission Monday morning. It makes information, documents, forms and links easily accessible to local residents as well as folks eying the region for economic development potential.
“I’m proud to be from Barton County, but that pride was not reflected in our old site,” said Commissioner Jennifer Schartz, a long-time proponent of the effort. “This is something we’ve needed for a long time.”
Earlier this year, the commission approved contracting with Simplified Online Communications System, Lincoln , Neb.,-based a non-profit website developer, to making improvements to the county’s website, The effort has also involved all county offices and department heads, said Count Administrator Richard Boeckman.
“This has been a lot of work,” Boeckman said. This came along at the same time the county was switching over to new administrative software.
“We’ve been working on this for the better part of two years now,” he said. The county’s Community Development Advisory Board saw this as a necessary economic development tool, and it developed from there.
That led to a five-member committee that looked at design and content ideas. The spent a lot of time studying color schemes and other ideas to market the county.
Boeckman said a municipal website have a theme. “Our theme is obviously Cheyenne Bottoms and the (Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic) byway.”
The blues and earth tones selected for the site reflect this, he said. They also tap the area’s agricultural roots.
The choice of wildlife photographs, shots of community festivals and pictures of residents enjoying the outdoors add to this image.
Each department has an in-depth link on the site which include forms, documents (including the county budget), codes and regulations. Features also include a clickable county map that links viewers to communities or other entities that have their own websites, a county-wide calendar of events, the ability to translate the site into another language, links to schools, and links to area and state economic development agencies.
In addition, there are connections to demographic data from the University of Kansas and the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the future, residents will have the ability to make payments via the website.
“This is something that is going to grow and change,” said Stacey Anderson, educational services manager for SOCS which developed the site. “You have something to be proud of.”
Boeckman said the county will also develop its Facebook presence as well.