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Shedding light on the past
Commission honors dealership for preservation efforts
new deh commission manweiller pic
Gene and Paula Manweiler, center, pose with members of the Barton County Commission including, from left to right, Don Cates, Jennifer Schartz, John Edmonds, Homer Kruckenberg and Kenny Schremmer Tuesday morning. The commission recognized Manweiler Chevrolet in Hoisington for its years of operation and its being named to the Kansas Register of Historic Places. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Burn ban back

The Barton County Commission Tuesday morning reinstated the county-wide burn ban after one week of having no ban in place.
This state of emergency will be in force until noon Monday, Sept. 10, at that time it may be extended if weather conditions do not improve.
Despite showers Monday night, Hurricane Isaac failed to produce much rain for the region, said county Emergency Management Director Amy Miller. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Barton County remains in extreme drought conditions despite rainfall within the last two weeks.   
Some county fire chiefs reported controlled burns that were larger than they should be as landowners hurried to get their burning done. There were even some illegal items being burned.
The chiefs said this hectic pace presents an increased likelihood of a fire getting out of control.

Eight years ago, as Manweiler Chevrolet in Hoisington was observing its 75th anniversary, Gene Manweiler defied his father’s wishes and renovated the old-school neon signs atop the family dealership.
Those efforts have paid off.
Manweiler Chevrolet is now listed by the Kansas Register of Historic Places. In addition, the Kansas Historical Sites Board of Review has nominated Manweiler to the National Register of Historic Places.   
“We are very happy about this designation,” Gene told the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning. He and his wife Paula were on hand to be recognized for their longevity and the accomplishment.
He had the option of remodeling to the new Chevy corporate design, but declined. “We wanted to keep the family tradition going,” Gene said.
Since the lighting has been redone, he said tourists stop regularly to take pictures of the World War II-era structure. The business joins Hoisington High School and the Hoisington Post Office as the only buildings in Hoisington on the state register.
After the renovation, Gene said he joined Hoisington Main Street Inc. and became a history buff. He also learned the importance of preservation.
His building, which his grandfather purchased for $18,000 in the 1940s, is one of the last dealerships with this look still in existence. The sign originally cost $1,895.
Hoisington Main Street now has its sights on having the entire business district listed. “This is a good step in that direction,” Gene said.
In other business, the commission:
• Received a check from Cody Smith of Alliance Insurance Group. He presented the commission Chairman Homer Kruckenberg with a $20,645.27 dividend return check as a result of the county’s participation in the Kansas County Safety Dividend Group with EMC Insurance Companies. Smith said the refund was due to the county’s lack of claims because of safety efforts. This marks the third year in a row that the county has received a dividend from EMC and in that span, the county has received $87,451.80.
Barton County is in a pool with 35 area counties under EMC. In all this year, these counties received refunds of over $600,000.
• Approved the temporary closure North Washington from 30 Road to 50 Road so Wheatland Electric can replace the large power poles along the stretch. The road will be closed to through traffic which will be detoured. Local traffic will still have access.  Work is expected to start on Monday, Sept. 10, and take about two weeks. “This is a fairly large project,” County Engineer Clark Rusco said. The action was recommended for the safety of the crews working and the motorists.
 • Heard the bi-weekly informational update from Richard Boeckman, county counselor\administrator. He provided a report of work completed by county departments in the past couple weeks.