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ELECTRONIC MEDICINE St. Rose hospital continues with electronic advancements SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE


he first steps have been taken and the next are in the works at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. The huge project of converting from paper to electronic medical records (EMRs) is ongoing and patients are currently benefitting from two new programs. One began last summer with e-scripts on iPads at doctors’ offices. “We are able to order new prescriptions and refills at the doctors’ offices using this great new technology,” said Lance Kellenbarger, St. Rose director of information technology services. “This is so much more convenient for the patients and the wait for a prescription should be shorter.” The new electronic system also allows for an easier review of a patient’s prescription history. The next technological advancement came to fruition on Dec. 1 when the check-in process at doctors’ offices was streamlined. The procedures for scheduling, registration and billing have all been improved to add even more convenience for patients, Kellenbarger said. “We are scanning insurance cards and other ID into the system,” he noted. “This will mean less paperwork on follow-up visits and it allows us to be more efficient.


Howard Young, left, St. Rose physician assistant, looks on as Lance Kellenbarger, St. Rose information technology services director, demonstrates the e-scripts on iPads program.

“In addition,” Kellenbarger said, “the new system helps ensure medical benefits are being used by the right person; it is one way to alleviate concerns about identity theft.”

These systems have been designed to benefit patients of Great Bend Internists, Central Kansas Women’s Health Center, St. Joseph Family Medicine, Central Kansas Surgical Care and

Noon, morning basketball players get Hall of Fame



f only the walls of the Great Bend Auditorium could talk. For years, some men and women have skipped the noon buffets and spent their lunch hours at the city gym. What started as an informal game of pickup eventually expanded into a regular activity offered by the Great Bend Recreation Commission, the Noon Basketball Association. Early morning games were eventually added as an option, and the Morning Basketball Association was created. If the walls could talk, they might divulge stories of old-school players dazzling younger challengers with their teamwork and moves. There would be stories of Loy Anthony, who played so hard he was always having to re-tie his shoe laces, and

of Steve Warner, who modified his shoes so he could keep playing even after injuries left him with one leg an inch shorter than the other. Along the way, this healthy activity became the genesis of lasting friendships, and the source of legends. And now the southeast wall of the gym will talk, at least a little. It will house a plaque and some photos for the GBRC NBA/MBA Hall of Fame. The first class of inductees was recognized on Saturday, Jan. 29. The first awards went to Loy Anthony, Jon Briel, Bob Suelter, Kevin Sundahl, and posthumously to Ray Cheely and Steve Warner. During the awards ceremony, recipients and presenters recalled a few of the memorable events.

Central Kansas Orthopaedics. All these clinics are part of the St. Rose family. “But this is only the beginning,” Kellenbarger said. “Once

we meet our long-term goals, everything will be managed electronically. This includes everything from checking in for a one-day surgery, to being discharged, to having all patient medical records

in the computer. Radiology, rehab services and urgent care records will be included.” Eventually, historical records will be stored electronically too. “In the long run, we also will have a healthinformation exchange,” Kellenbarger said. “When you see a doctor outside of our organization, that doctor will have access to all your records electronically. This is in its infancy now all across the country. But we are working hard to make it a reality here.” An internal healthinformation exchange will be created with all Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) facilities across the country. CHI is St. Rose’s parent company. “The exchanges will be great for the patients,” Kellenbarger commented. “Doctors won’t have to find paper folders; a few keystrokes is all it will take. “Most important, this will improve accuracy,” he added. “Just as with the e-scripts, there will be more redundancy to ensure there are no problems. And as things flow together, we will be looking at smart IV pumps to add another layer of redundancy. Anything that enhances access to records and accuracy has a direct reflection on the quality of care patients receive.” While patients are always the priority at St. Rose, Kellenbarger noted, the change from paper to EMRs will also satisfy federal requirements.

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BASKETBALL, from page 2 “I had the honor of playing with all of these people,” said Kelley Scott, one of the few women to regularly join the games. For Anthony, who played from the early 1980s until 1994, they joked about his old school sweat bands and his frequent “shoe timeouts,” but also recalled his great moves and floating shots. Briel led a trio known as the “Harper Three” who began playing noon ball in the early 1980s. On his 40th birthday he helped get the morning group started by becoming its first “key man.” Suelter was one of the original founders of noon ball and is considered the historian. Sundahl said he always had great blockers playing with his team, which may be why any time someone threw him the ball he had time to say, “nice pass,” before shooting. Cheely was remembered as a spirited competitor. He played for 26 years. Fellow player Marlyn Poncin, one of the Hall of Fame presenters, recalled, “One of the things Ray was known for was his drive to the basket. ... “I owe Ray a lot. He was a great friend, a great person,” Poncin said. “He’ll never be forgotten.” Warner started playing noon basketball in 1984 at the age of 32 and kept going until 2011. At the induction ceremony, presenter Chuck Pike recalled he was given a “Senior Discount/Frequent Foul Plan” by his fellow players. He loved noon and morning basketball so much that he

SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

The first inductees to the Great Bend Recreation Commission NBA/MBA Hall of Fame are, from left: Bob Suelter, Jon Briel, Kevin Sundahl and Loy Anthony. Posthumous awards were also given to Ray Cheely and Steve Warner when the first members of the GBRC’s Noon Basketball Association and Morning Basketball Association Hall of Fame were recognized on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Adult fitness at The Rec The Great Bend Recreation Center, 1214 Stone St., has treadmills, recumbent bikes and other cardio and strength equipment in its Wellness Center, which is open Monday through Saturday. Yearly membership includes Gym Drop In activities and basketball for adults. AM Basketball (at 6 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) costs $10 per person per year, and Noon Basketball (Monday through Friday) costs $25. For more information stop by the office or call 620-793-3755 ext. 2. didn’t stop playing after he broke his foot on the basketball court, was in a cast for 10 months after breaking his leg skiing, and had bypass surgery. “Steve Warner was a great example of what a man should be,” Pike said.

The organizers of the GBRC NBA/MBA Hall of Fame also want to give something back to the community, Pike said. Working with the GBRC Foundation, they are collecting tax-deductible donations with hopes of doing something related

to basketball. It may be new side goals for the city gym, or a basketball seminar for youth, or perhaps a lighted outdoor court at the new GBRC Activity Center at 2715 18th St. For more information call the GBRC office, 620-793-3755.

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SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

Kelley Scott, left, reacts as Loy Anthony tells the audience “I should have worn my boots,” during his induction into the Hall of Fame for morning and noon basketball players at the recreation center. Scott is a regular at the basketball games and introduced the award recipients and presenters.

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YOUR HEALTH: HEALING GARDENS Flower power can transform bleak houses into inspiring Edens that nourish the mind, body and spirit BY ANNE BOLEN National Wildlife Federation


hen Nicola Allen and her husband, Aldwin, first moved into their home on Burton Street in north Hartford, Conn., 15 years ago, the bleak scene daunted her. “I fell in love with the house but disliked the neighborhood. We had gun violence, loitering, noise, petty crime, littering. We would sweep the lawns of trash before mowing. We didn’t even have robins, cardinals or blue jays here. It was difficult emotionally for me to function.” For three years, Nicola sought sanctuary by spending hours after her night shifts as a mental health counselor driving through suburban neighborhoods that had the look and feel she wanted in her community. One day, she realized what those houses had that appealed to her: beautiful gardens that weren’t surrounded by fences. Although she “didn’t know a pansy from a marigold,” she vowed she would stop window-shopping at other people’s lawns and create her own “Garden of Eden.” Nicola read about different kinds of plants and then asked a local gardening center to design a landscape for her. She planted her garden and, eventually, took down her chain-link fence. “My neighbors told me I wasn’t very smart and asked why we would put our future children in jeopardy. I remember having sleepless nights afterwards.” But rather than suddenly being vulnerable to a wave of crime, Nicola saw people stopping to

DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Gardening has become an important pastime locally and the health benefits of it will only make it more attractive. Shown is one of the many gardens in Great Bend.

look at her garden. She began offering to plant gardens in neighbors’ yards if they would also remove their fences. The couple even bought three houses on the block just

so they could take down their fences and rent them out. Now nearly every fence is gone, and flowers flourish in most of the yards. Nicola has become a stay-at-home mother of

three children and relishes the hours she spends gardening. “I see it as cheap therapy. I just feel better.”

Nicola stumbled upon what researchers have been saying for decades yet now the healthcare community, urban planners and government agencies are acknowledging: Green spaces can revitalize a person physically, psychologically and socially. Environmental psychologist Kathleen Wolf at the University of Washington has gathered more than 1,800 research papers spanning the last 40 years—most published in the past decade—which show that green spaces in cities can provide a number of benefits. These include: faster healing; reduced ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes; increased coping and learning capacity; promotion of a sense of community and self-esteem; and, in some cases, reduced crime. With funding from the U.S. Forest Service, Wolf is conducting a multiyear review of scientific studies about these benefits to determine what kinds of green spaces produce what effects and their economic value. This information could help urban planners trying to green their cities to find shared funding sources with the public health community, which, Wolf says, is realizing it has to have “an integrated approach of nutrition and activity as well as prescriptions to achieve holistic health.” So what makes nature so powerful? Our reactions to it may stem from our deep evolutionary roots, says child environment and behavior researcher Andrea Faber Taylor. She and her colleague Frances Kuo at the University of Illinois have based their research

of our relationship with our environment on the Attention Restoration Theory, which says that we have two kinds of attention: directed and involuntary. “We only have a finite capacity for effortful attention. By making yourself stay on task, you can become fatigued, irritable and eventually less productive,” explains Taylor. “Things in nature—insects, birds, moving tree leaves, flowing water, fire—are naturally fascinating to us because as humans evolved, those who paid attention to these things were better able to survive. We are calmed and our directed attention is restored by green spaces because viewing them is a gently engaging experience.” The body of evidence indicating that, as Taylor says, “a green space is not just an accessory but actually a necessity for human health,” is growing. Children may particularly benefit from spending time outdoors. NWF’s recent Green Time for Sleep Time report cites research suggesting that outdoor play can improve children’s abilities to sleep and therefore to concentrate and do better in school. Kuo and Taylor are investigating how much green time might help alleviate symptoms of attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says could affect as many as 5.4 million U.S. children. Kuo and Taylor reported in 2011 that a nationwide survey of 421 parents of children See GARDENS, 5

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DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Even students are taking part in gardening, as these students demonstrate in the Park Elementary School garden.

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Central Kansas Partnership builds healthier communities


ver the years, several groups in Central Kansas have taken on the task of making healthier communities. Today, the efforts of many are united in the Central Kansas Partnership. Barton County Health Educator Janel Rose explains that the coalition evolved through the merger of the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction coalition, the Barton County Partnership, Barton County LEAD Project (alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention), Children and Families Task Force, and Healthy Communities Coalition. Each entity had a separate mission, but many times their mission statements were similar and work identified overlapped with multiple coalitions. Most active members were involved in each of the coalitions because of their work or the clients that they served, as well as the fact that issues identified sprang from the same causes and needs. Because of blurred lines between coalitions and the limited time each partner could spend attending meetings, decisions were made by coalitions to merge into one, strong, multi-faceted and united coalition. The name was formally changed to Central Kansas Partnership and the following vision and mission statement were adopted: Vision: The partnership envisions healthy caring communities. Mission: To join in a common effort to build healthy

SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

Messages on the Barton County Health Department sign change monthly, but all are aimed at improved community health and safety.

and safe communities, reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and promote healthy attitudes and behaviors. There are currently five task forces working specifically on community identified issues: Chronic Disease Risk Re-

duction – Nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use cessation and prevention. Healthy Community Design – Will assess Barton County for policies, systems and environmental factors, and develop a community action plan to

improve community livability. Teen Pregnancy Prevention – Working with preventing unintended pregnancies among teenagers age 10-19 in our community. Suicide Prevention – Working with public awareness of

suicide hotlines and referral to resources for individuals considering suicide. Hoisington Task Force – Drug and alcohol prevention for Barton County youth and public awareness of the issue of underage drinking.

GARDENS, from page 4 with ADHD indicated children who played regularly in green settings had milder symptoms, resulting in better concentration and less impulsive behavior. Yet the majority of U.S. youth are spending more time indoors than any previous generation. NWF’s Be Out There™ campaign cites research that says each day, U.S. children spend an average of more than seven hours in front of electronic media and as little as four to seven minutes in unstructured play outdoors. The consequences of this “nature-deficit disorder,” as author Richard Louv called it in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, includes childhood depression, asthma, vitamin D deficiency and type-2 diabetes. Some health care professionals have decided to address these problems by writing “prescriptions for nature.” Paul Dykema, a pediatrician since 1967 in Holland, Michigan, says he has seen “a dramatic increase during the past 20 years in obesity, ADHD, depression, anxiety and school underperformance in my patients. One-third of my patient visits deal with these conditions.” This

among minority students and those from underresourced communities. Some cities and organizations also offer funding for community or school gardens. Since 1982, the National Gardening Association’s Kids Gardening program, for example, has awarded more than 9,650 garden grants, reaching an estimated 1.6 million youth. Nicola Allen has received several city and nonprofit organizational awards for her volunteer and landscaping efforts, some of which have helped fund what has become a living legacy. She helps maintain a garden at her children’s school and continues to seek ways to turn more of Hartford from blight to bloom. But perhaps the most changed are her neighbors. Frances Skeete has lived on Burton Street for 30 years and DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune says since Nicola moved Gardens add beauty to a home, as well as providing an opportunity to get outdoors and exercise. in, the changes she’s seen are “remarkable”: less crime, people taking betvided habitat guidelines spend time in these green and easy to incorporate prompted him to begin ter care of their homes and curricula to schools into a routine. spaces. writing prescriptions for and exchanging plants, since 1996 and now NWF’s Certified WildHowever, home and decreased “screen time,” and children playing in has certified more than life Habitat program proschool gardens and green 15 minutes of reading the street. Nicola is “a vides guidelines on how to 4,000 schoolyards. These play areas may have the and one to two hours of force to be reckoned with,” outdoor classrooms teach create your own wildlife greatest healing potenunstructured outdoor Skeete says. “She has made environmental stewardand personal sanctuary, tial. Kuo and Taylor have play per day. The U.S. the entire block blossom, ship and teamwork while whether on your balcony National Park Service also found that the size of increasing self-confidence and not just with flowers. or in your community. the green space is not as is encouraging doctors She has caused us all to and improving academic NWF’s Schoolyard Habicritical as whether it is to write “Park Prescripgrow.” performance, especially tions” advising patients to considered safe, accessible tats® program has pro-

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Affordable Care Act tax provisions are confusing BY CHUCK SMITH


he Internet site, www., offers a wide range of humorous “demotivationâ€? posters, lampooning the motivational posters you’ll find everywhere from grade schools to business break rooms. One has a picture of the U.S. Capitol and the title, “Government,â€? with the message: “If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.â€? It would be easy to accept that sentiment when trying to understand the nation’s Affordable Care Act. It delves into layer after layer of stipulations when you try to study it, but as the nation approaches another tax deadline, the Internal Revenue Service made it clear that there are tax implications tied up in Affordable Care and some of them are already impacting the public. Some of the provisions that will impact taxpayers, according to the IRS, include: • Health insurance premium tax credit According to the IRS informa-

tion, “starting in 2014, individuals and families can take a new premium tax credit to help them afford health insurance coverage purchased through an Affordable Insurance Exchange. “Exchanges will operate in every state and the District of Columbia. The premium tax credit is refundable so taxpayers who have little or no income tax liability can still benefit. “The credit also can be paid in advance to a taxpayer’s insurance company to help cover the cost of premiums.â€? Last year, it added, the IRS “issued proposed regulations that describe who will be eligible to receive the premium tax credit and how to compute the credit.â€? • Small business health care tax credit America continues to depend on small businesses for both current employment and for its growth, and the act will certainly have an impact on these businesses. According to the IRS, however, there is a credit for these businesses. “This new credit helps small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their employees and

is specifically targeted for those with low- and moderate-income workers. “The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. “In general, the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees.â€? There’s a lot of detail to it, and the IRS encourages small business owners to investigate. • Changes to flexible spending arrangements The IRS noted that for all of 2011, starting on Jan. 1, 2011, actually, there were changes to this area. It noted that “the cost of an over-the-counter medicine or drug cannot be reimbursed from Flexible Spending Arrangements or health reimbursement arrangements unless a prescription is obtained. “The change does not affect insulin, even if purchased without a prescription, or other health care expenses such as medical devices, eye glasses, contact lenses, copays and deductibles. “The new standard applies only to purchases made on or after

Pre-hospital care has changed BY DEBRA BROCKEL, PA Special to the Tribune

Editor’s Note: Debra Brockel is a phyisicians assistant at Clara Barton Clinic and Hospital. She works with Emergency Medical Services.


n the past ten years, there have been tremendous advancements in pre-hospital care. I can report that just in the last three years or so since I have been involved with the four services in Barton County (Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend, and Hoisington) we have made several advancements. Three of these include intraosseous (into the bone) access when intravenous (into the vein) access in unobtainable. This is important when life saving medications are

needed for cases such as cardiac arrest. Another advancement is the use of CPAP. This stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP can be used when people have heart failure, asthma, COPD, and respiratory failure. By using CPAP there is a reduction of inspiratory muscle recruitment and, therefore, is a reduction or avoidance of muscle fatigue. This also improves gas exchange and improves hemodynamic effects (circulation) in the body. Also this will often times avert the need for intubation(insertion of a tube into the throat). The third area of advancement is pain management in pre-hospital care. I know that we now have more drugs available for use not only for pain, but also

for anxiety and sedation. This improves not only the comfort of the patient, but also in cases such as a heart attack improves oxygenation to the heart. I think that this is all exciting for us living in Barton County. If anyone would have an interest in serving people of our community this would be a fantastic way! There is a transition at the state level and we are in the process of training and rewriting protocols that I believe will increase the access to care and improve the ease of appropriate transfers to other facilities when indicated. I would just like to close by saying when you see any of these dedicated EMTs and paramedics, please thank them, we may need them one day.

Diabetic Support Groups and individualized instructions now being offered monthly. • English speaking • Spanish speaking Call 620-792-5700 for more information and to set up an appointment.

Jan. 1, 2011, so claims for medicines or drugs purchased without a prescription in 2010 can still be reimbursed in 2011, if allowed by the employer’s plan. “A similar rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs). Employers and employees should take these changes into account as they make health benefit decisions for 2011.â€? • Health coverage for older children This is another area that has already been impacted and that may affect taxpayers, the IRS urges. “Health coverage for an employee’s children under 27 years of age is now generally tax-free to the employee. “This expanded health care tax benefit applies to various work place and retiree health plans. These changes immediately allow employers with cafeteria plans — plans that allow employees to choose from a menu of tax-free benefit options and cash or taxable benefits — to permit employees to begin making pretax contributions to pay for this expanded benefit. “This also applies to self-em-

Survey will gauge county health needs


n order to gauge the overall health needs of Barton County residents, Clara Barton Hospital and Barton County Department of Health are working together with Northwest Kansas Health Alliance to conduct a community wide health needs assessment. Results of the survey will provide guidance to address health care needs and fulfill both federal and state mandates. To gather the necessary information for this assessment, a comprehensive paper / online survey has been created to measure Barton County resident’s views regarding health care perceptions of delivery, access, and health practices. Starting the week of Jan. 30, surveys will be mailed to 2,000 randomly selected Barton county residents. (Note: If you would like to participate and do not receive a paper survey, please log into to take the survey online. Additionally, there will be a limited supply of paper surveys that can be ob-

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tained at Clara Barton Hospital or Barton County Department of Health.) VVV Research & Development Inc., an independent research firm from Olathe, has been retained to conduct this county wide research. It is important that these surveys be completed and returned by Friday, Feb. 10. Participants who choose to take the survey will answer questions dealing with health related topics such as diet/nutrition, exercise, health concerns, and access to care, etc. All survey responses are anonymous and completing the survey takes less than 10 minutes. In addition, residents interested in discussing and prioritizing Barton County future health initiatives will have their chance on Monday, Feb. 20. Currently, a town hall dinner meeting is being planned for from 5:30 -7 p.m. on that date at the Hoisington Activities Center, 1200 Susank Rd. in Hoisington. More information on how to participate will be released in a few weeks.


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ployed individuals who qualify for the self-employed health insurance deduction on their federal income tax return.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;˘ Adoption credit Another family area that could see tax impact will be for those families that have adopted, the IRS explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Affordable Care Act raises the maximum adoption credit to $13,360 per child, up from $13,170 in 2010 and $12,150 in 2009. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The adoption tax credit is refundable for tax year 2011, meaning that eligible taxpayers can get it even if they owe no tax for that year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In general, the credit is based on the reasonable and necessary expenses related to a legal adoption, including adoption fees, court costs, attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fees and travel expenses.â&#x20AC;? As is the case with so much else in the system, however, there are some catches and taxpayers would be smart to get professional information, the IRS urges. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Income limits and other special rules apply. ... Taxpayers may also be asked, after filing their returns, to substantiate any qualified adoption expenses they paid.â&#x20AC;?






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Walk Kansas program to start March 18 BY SUSAN THACKER


alk Kansas, a popular program launched by Kansas State University’s Research and Extension, will start its 11th year on March 18. Once again, the Barton County Extension and Great Bend Recreation Commission are inviting residents throughout the county to form six-person teams that will collectively “walk across Kansas” or farther in eight weeks. Barton County Extension Agent Donna Krug noted that Walk Kansas fitness challenge will start one week later this year. Walking isn’t the only activity that counts. Participants count every 15 minutes of exercise as a mile toward the goal. A team captain collects their minute reports and logs them on the Walk Kansas website so people can watch their progress. Teams chose one of two challenges. They can either walk 423 miles – the distance across the state – or 1,200 miles – the distance around the perimeter of the

state. If each team member takes part in moderate to vigorous activity for two and a half hours per week, they can achieve the first challenge. Completing the longer challenge would require each member to log six hours of physical activity each week. Something new this year is the chance to earn “bonus minutes,” Krug said. People will earn bonus minutes by doing one hour of continuous activity. Participants will also be asked to record their daily fruit and vegetable consumption. In 2010 there were more than 80 Barton County teams, said Krug. Most were teams formed among co-workers, and the sponsors are encouraging more work-site teams. “We don’t consider it a competition, but sometimes there’s a friendly competition,” she said. Everything is done on the honor system, and there are no “Walk Kansas police.” Cost to participate is $3 per person, plus the cost of a Walk Kansas T-shirt, if desired. This year’s T-shirt colors are fuchsia and navy. For the $3, participants

SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

RaeAnn Hayes from Hoisington, holding her son Cooper, and Teresa Bachand from the Barton County Extension office, right, join in a planning session for the 2012 Walk Kansas program. The popular wellness program starts on March 18.

receive activity logs and guidelines, and access to a weekly newsletter on the Internet.

Walk Kansas packets will be available soon at the Great Bend Recreation Center, Barton County Ex-

tension Office, Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce office and Hoisington Activity Center. For more

information contact Krug at the extension office, 1800 12th St., Great Bend, or call 620-793-1910.

Job outlook: Explore healthcare careers now


nemployment rates may still be high and the opportunities out there in specific careers might be waning, but there is one job sector that may be promising -healthcare. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that 3.2 million jobs will be created by 2018 in the healthcare industry. Other forecasters say that with an aging population who will provide the demand for healthcare workers, jobs in the health sector make sense as a stable career option. Plus there are more opportunities for hire. But what healthcare jobs are out there for those who don’t currently have a medical degree nor the time to devote to a long edu-

cation or much additional schooling? As it turns out, plenty. • Dental assistant: This career is one of the fastest-growing careers in healthcare, according to industry experts. While formal schooling may not be needed and some dentists train on-site, there’s better opportunity for those who have completed a training program. Some dental assistant diploma or certificate programs can be completed in as little as a year. The median expected salary for a typical dental assistant in the United States is $32,969. • Registered nurse: Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry. Though doctors may get all the glory, it’s often nurses who provide the much-needed,

behind-the-scenes care that complements a doctor’s expertise. Applicants can consider earning a 2-year associates degree in nursing to get started in the field and then continue their education and certification as they advance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a registered nurse in the United States is $67,720. • Pharmacy technician: The world of pharmaceuticals continues to grow. A 2009 story in Forbes magazine indicated that 11.6 prescriptions are issued per person in the U.S. each year. West Virgina is the state with the highest number of scripts per capita. With so many prescriptions issued each year, the demand for pharmacy employees

is increasing. Assistants can generally complete a certificate program which may be as short as 6 months. Pharmacy techs earn an average salary of $32,600, according to • Hospice care worker: Whether providing home hospice care or working in a facility, these workers provide support and assistance to the elderly or individuals with illnesses that restrict their ability to care for themselves. Hospice care is often end-of-life care and requires a special level of devotion from workers. Depending on the program, a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a state certification may be all that’s necessary to become a hospice technician. Salaries can range from $35,000 to $60,000.

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What to do when beginning an exercise regimen


t the dawn of a new calendar year, many people decide it’s time to turn over a new leaf and shed those extra pounds that accumulated over the previous 12 months. The resolve to lose weight is perhaps never stronger than at the beginning of a calendar year, when the holiday season has passed but those added inches on the waistline remain. Though it’s noble to want to lose weight and improve health, regardless of what time of year it is, there are precautions men and women should take before beginning a new exercise regimen. • Visit your physician. It’s best to get a full physical before beginning an exercise regimen. A full physical can reveal if you have any health problems that might limit what you should and shouldn’t be doing at the gym. If anything turns up, your physician can develop a plan of attack for you to address the issue. If nothing turns up, then your doctor will probably give you the green light to go forward with few, if any, limitations. • Conduct a self-assessment. Once you’ve visited the doctor and received the go-ahead to start working out, do an honest self-assessment to see where you are in terms of fitness. Walk a mile and time yourself. Do as many push-ups and sit-ups as possible, but be careful to stretch and not push yourself. This self-assessment should not be demanding. Instead, the goal is to gauge where you are and how your body feels when doing some simple exercises. • Establish your goals. The goal of most people beginning a new exercise regimen is to lose weight. However, there are other incentives as well. For example, some people might be starting to train for a marathon or another sporting event. Whatever the reason, know why you’re getting started, as such goals can help

Core exercises are becoming more popular


A personal trainer can help men and women acclimate themselves to a new exercise regimen.

you monitor your progress as the year goes on. • Start slowly. Caution should reign supreme when beginning an exercise regimen. Diving into the deep end at the onset increases the risk of injury, which could limit activity for months to come. First get your body acclimated to exercise, then gradually challenge yourself as you see fit. • Leave time to recover. Though it might feel rejuvenating to get back to exercising, it’s important for everyone, but especially those who are just starting, to allow themselves some time to recover. Allow your muscles and joints to recover between workout sessions. Fre-

quency of sessions can increase as your body gets acclimated, but at first allow a day or two between sessions so your body can recover. • Listen to your body. Exercising after a long hiatus from routine exercise won’t be easy, and your body is likely going to tell you that through certain aches and pains, if not nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. If any of these symptoms appear, take a break. This could be your body telling you that you’re asking too much and you need to take your foot off the gas pedal for a little while. • Consider hiring a personal trainer. Many people are over-

Fitness-conscious men and women have no doubt noticed the growing popularity of core exercises. Core exercises are those that focus on the body’s core muscles, or those around the trunk and pelvis. These exercises are a focus of fitness center programs and have even been integrated into the workout regimens of professional athletes in all sports. But those unfamiliar with core exercises might not understand why they have become so popular, or why they have proven so effective. The following are some of the reasons core exercises have become such a significant part of many training regimens. • Core exercises help improve balance and stability. Core exercises require the core muscles, including the abdominals, hips, lower back, and pelvis, to work together. When muscles work together, the result is improved balance and stability, which helps athletes perform better and non-athletes better cope with the physical demands of everyday life. • Core exercises improve the appearance of abdominals. While it might not be the best reason to workout, physical appearance is a significant reason many people have such a strong commitment to exercise. Core exercises strengthen and tone the underlying muscles of the abdominals. When coupled with aerobic activity that burns abdominal fat, core exercises help turn flabby abdominals into the envy of fellow fitness enthusiasts. • Core exercises impact everyday life. Another reason many people commit to working their core muscles is the impact such activity has on everyday life. Core exercises help improve posture, which can reduce, if not eliminate, lower back pain and other muscle injuries. Eliminating that pain can greatly improve quality of life. In addition, core exercises can make it easier to excel in sports such as golf, a benefit that, to golfers, is worth its weight in gold. • Core exercises are free. Core exercises can be done without any costly machinery, and men and women can do them at home without having to pay for a monthly gym membership. However, it helps to get some instruction before beginning a core exercise regimen, as the exercises are not easy and the risk of injury is high for the inexperienced who don’t have anyone to show them what to do. whelmed when entering a gym after a long time away. If you find yourself intimidated or simply don’t know where to begin, hire a personal trainer. Many charge by-the-session, so you can learn which machines to use and how to use them after a session or two and then continue working out

on your own. If joining a gym as a new member, the gym might offer a couple of complementary personal training sessions. If so, take full advantage of this offer. When beginning a new exercise regimen, don’t forget to let caution reign until your body has adjusted to this healthy lifestyle.

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TWO WHEELS, NO WAITING Bike scene active, but challenges still linger BY DALE HOGG


n a recent afternoon, Doug Chambers sat on a small, rolling stool in the workshop area of his downtown Great Bend Business, Golden Belt Bicycle Company. Clamped in the stand in front of him was shiny, black bike which he was servicing – tightening this and adjusting that. However, it was an unusually warm day, considering it was January, and Chambers would have a rather been outside that shop riding. “Our business continues to grow each year,” he said. But, like any industry that involves getting outdoors and being physically active, he battles the growing sedentary nature of society. He said 2011 was good, but Christmas wasn’t what he was expecting. “This was the year of electronics.” Bikes were replaced on wish lists by I-Pads and I-Phones. Sales patterns have also changed over the past decade, he said. He sells fewer bikes overall, but sells more high-dollar cycles. Today more than 15-20 million new bicycles are sold each year in the United States, and according to a bicycle survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 57 million people age 16 or older ride a bicycle at least once each year. In 1990, the Federal Highway Administrator described bicycling and walking as “the forgotten modes” of transportation. For most of the preceding decade, these two non-motorized transportation options had been largely overlooked by federal, state, and local transportation agencies. An average of just $2 million of Federal transportation funds were spent each year on bicycle and pedestrian projects, and the percentage of commuting trips made by bicycling and walking fell from a combined 6.7 percent to 4.4 percent. In the same year, the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted a new national transportation policy that, for the first time, specifically sought to “increase use of bicycling, and encourage planners and engineers to accommodate bicycle


Riding a mountain bike can be both challenging and entertaining.

Laura Smith,

Executive Director

DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Signs like the one shown warn area motorists about the presence of cyclists on the roadways. Strides have been made locally and statewide to make riding bicycles easier and safer, but challenges remain.

and pedestrian needs in designing transportation facilities for urban and suburban areas”, and “increase pedestrian safety through public information and improved crosswalk design, signaling, school crossings, and sidewalks.” This policy signaled an increase in attention to bicycling and walking. Congress wanted to know how the department proposed to increase bicycling and walking while improving the safety, and in fiscal year 1991 appropriated $1 million to complete the National Bicycling and Walking Study. In 1992, a series of 24 case studies was commissioned to investigate different aspects of the bicycling and walking issue. These reports gathered a wealth of information on bicycling and walking from around the world and provided a snapshot of the state of bicycling and walking in the United States in the early 1990s. The studies also highlighted information gaps, identified common obstacles and challenges to improving conditions for the non-motorized traveler, and suggested possible activities and a leadership role for the department. On April 22, 1994, the Federal Highway Administrator and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator walked the final report of the National Bicycling and Walking Study from the Department of Transportation to the U.S. Congress. The study contained two overall goals – double the percentage of total trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent of all travel trips and reduce by 10 percent the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes. That effort continues to this day, while safety remains a concern of bike riders. “People want bicycle-specific areas,” Chambers said. “They want areas where they don’t have to worry about cars.” With the opening of the paved hike/ bike trail along the Arkansas River south of Great Bend, and off-road trails also following the river and at the former Lake Barton south of town, there are safe options available. “The system of trails has helped immensely,” Chambers said. “These are close and families can go and share the riding experience.” “Even though bicyclists are legal users of our roadways, except interstates, few streets, roads ad highways were designed with their use in mind or given consideration,” said David Crawford, president

of the KanBikeWalk, a grassroots volunteer non-profit organization dedicated increasing cycling’s presence in Kansas. “As bicycling and walking sees resurgence in use and popularity, so have the challenges for people of all ages safely move about communities on a bicycle or on foot.” Kansas has made great strides. On April 1, the Kansas House and Senate approved a bill requiring motorists to pass bicyclists at a distance of not less than three feet. The bill also contained a provision that allows vehicle drivers to pass a bicycle in a no-passing zone if it is safe to do so. In addition, the bill contained a so-called “dead red” provision, which allows bicyclists (and motorcyclists) to bypass a malfunctioning traffic control signal (i.e. a red last that won’t detect their presence) after stopping and waiting for “a reasonable period of time.” Governor Sam Brownback signed the legislation, and it went into effect July 1. But, the League of American Bicyclists released the 2011 edition of its Bicycle Friendly State rankings, and Kansas

dropped from number 13 to 23. Based on legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education, planning and enforcement, the overall grade was D. Kansas was number 25 in 2008, 33 in 2009 and 13 in 2010. Crawford, KanBikeWalk and other cycling advocates are pushing such initiatives as Complete Streets, which encourages the development of bike and pedestrian infrastructure (including bike lanes), and Safe Routes to Schools, which promotes safe walking and biking for students. “Improving the way the streets, roads and highways are designed and built across Kansas to make them safer for all roadway users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians, is a major goal of KanBikeWalk,” he said. Statistics have shown as the number of children walking and bicycling to school has decreased over the last 40-50 years, the health of our children has decreased due to increase rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes and other health problems related in inactivity. “Our children’s See BIKES, 10

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What are the types of bicycles? Today you have many choices depending on your interest and goals. Traditional or cruiser bikes These are the Cadillacs of bikes. They are built with one thing in mind ... comfort. But comfort comes at a cost; these bikes are heavy, weighing as much as 35-50 pounds. Adding to the weight are front-suspension forks (like a shock absorber on a car), anywhere from one to 21 gears, wide tires (there has been a recent resurgence of the old-style balloon tire because of its “retro” good looks and reliability), spring-suspension seats (seat-post suspension on some), step-through design which means large and heavy tubular frame design for stability, fenders, front and rear lights, air pumps, and racks or baskets to carry your stuff. The handlebars are high so that you sit upright; the advantage to this geometry is that it reduces strain on your neck and back and makes it easier to see where you are going and easier to be seen, but the disadvantage is that you go slower because you are less aerodynamic when you sit up. METRO PHOTO

Two cyclists hit the asphalt on their road bikes. This is just one of many types of cycling, an activity that has levels for riders of all abilities.

BIKES, from page 9 health has declined to the point that for the first time in the U.S.’s history, the current generation of children is projected to have a shorter life expectance than their parents.” While many things have contributed to our children’s declining health, all children still have to go to school. This creates the opportunity to bring back a level of activity in our children’s everyday lives, if they can safely get to the school. “Creating safe routes in today’s communities requires the cooperation of parents, school districts, the health community and city leadership,” he said. However, it’s being done across the country and in Kansas, in urban and rural communities alike. “Education is a critical component of safe walking and bicycling,” Crawford said. “Most Kansans grew up riding their bicycles as children. Unfortunately, many never received proper training on how to use our bicycles on roads with cars and trucks.” Unfortunately, today too many adults still ride their bicycles as if they were children even though they know better, he said. Consequently, many people are intimidated by today’s traffic. “The best pointer is to ride your bicycle as if you are a vehicle, but how does one do that?” he said. Meanwhile, Chambers said the local bike scene is becoming increasingly active. There are weekly group road and mountain bike rides, a growing number of area cyclists taking bicycle vacations and even some participating in races around the central United States.

Hybrid bike Hybrid bikes are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. They first appeared in the late 1980s and have gained popularity in the past five to 10 years. Hybrids are probably the best all-around bike since they combine the best features of mountain and road bikes. They are fast, sturdy, and handle well on tarmac (they can take a small pothole) as well as on light trails. You can ride them leisurely around town, comfortably on longer rides, and off road when the need arises (but not on extreme trails). Frames are typically made of carbon fiber or aluminum alloy to keep them lightweight and fast but durable, and they typically have 21-27 gears (making long-distance riding and hills more manageable). The saddle is wider than a racing saddle but narrower than a big, cushy, springloaded one (you ride faster on a narrow saddle). Hybrids can be fixed up with fenders for commuting (to keep water from splashing on your slacks), a chain guard (to keep the chain oil off your clothes), kickstands, and lights. All of theses accessories add weight to the bike but make it safer and cleaner for riding around town. Racing or road bike This is not the bike for a beginner or for those getting back into biking after a multi-decade hiatus. These bikes are made of ultra-light composite fibers and are built for speed (this is the type Lance Armstrong and the others bikers ride in the Tour de France). They feature very thin tires (at very high pressure, which make them fast but bumpy), drop handlebars (you ride very hunched over to cut down on wind resistance), narrow saddle, and many gears (gears on racing bikes are very close together, which allows the rider to match the gear precisely for the conditions). There are no frills, no reflectors, no kickstand, no fenders. They are designed to be as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible. Touring bike Touring bikes are designed for long-distance, multi-

day, or week-long adventures. They are built for reliability, strength, and comfort. They are lighter than a hybrid or mountain bike but heavier than a racing bike. The handlebars can be adjusted to drop down for speed or be upright for more comfort and taking in the scenery. They are fitted with front and rear panniers to carry all your stuff and at least 21 gears to get you up the steepest hills even with all the excess baggage. Although this bike is built for the demands of long-distance riding, you could use it around town as a commuting bike as well. Mountain bike Mountain bikes are perfect for riding in the rain, snow, and of course, over rocks, tree roots, or pretty much whatever else the trail throws at you. Mountain bikes have suspension in the front which increases traction and comfort (some do not, which means the rider should be very skilled to negotiate the terrain safely), and sometimes there is suspension in the rear as well (full-suspension). Suspension adds weight to the bike, and so there is a trade-off between comfort, safety, and weight. Mountain bikes typically have 21-27 gears, although there is a recent trend for minimalist, single-gear mountain bikes. Brake design has shifted from rim brakes to disc brakes because of the superior stopping and the ability to stay dry and clean, which means better performance in the rain and the dirt. Wheels come in different widths and diameter depending on the terrain and style of riding (trails, jumping, etc.). The tires are knobby to increase traction and use tubed or tubeless designs. Tubeless tires resist the type of flat called a pinch flat, where the inner tube gets caught (pinched) between the rim and the tire. A pinch flat differs from a puncture flat, where an object (nail or glass) punctures the tire and the tube. The riding position is upright so you can see where you’re going. Folding Folding bikes use smaller wheels than standard size bikes, typically 16 or 20 inches compared with 26 inches. Folding is made possible through the use of hinges and clamps. Most manufacturers use hinges in the middle of the frame and clamps so you can lower or remove the seat post and steering stem. The end result is a bike folded in half, not much longer than the diameter of the wheels and not much wider than two and a half to three times the width of the bike unfolded. Foldable pedals are available to keep the width tight. The entire folding process can take less than one minute when you get good at it. Some can weigh as much as 25 pounds or even more. Adult trikes Bike riding is a terrific activity for individuals of all ages. It’s easy on the joints, gets the heart rate elevated, and is good for flexibility and strength in the legs. But balance is an issue for some people, and the fear and risk of falling is legitimate. The solution is simple ... adult tricycles or trikes. They’re heavy duty (some can support up to 300 pounds), they have baskets for carrying packages so you can do your errands, and they provide almost everyone an opportunity for exercise and freedom of movement for those individuals who might not be able to get around.

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New research is driving solutions to improve unpaved roads SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE


ANHATTAN – A Kansas State University graduate student sees the unpaved road ahead, and it’s filled with biomaterial. Wilson Smith, master’s student in civil engineering, Independence, Mo., is working with lignin, a plant-based sustainable material that can be added to improve the quality of unpaved roads throughout Kansas. More than 70 percent of the 98,000 miles of roads in Kansas are unpaved, Smith said. “One of the problems with unpaved roads is that they are made from loose granular soils with particles that are not bound to each other on the road surface,” Smith said. “This limits the speed of vehicles and often generates a lot of dust, denigrating the quality of the road.” But possible solutions could come from lignin, a biomass product that is present in all plants, including wheat straw, sugar cane and corn stover. Lignin is a waste product from other industries, including the production of biofuel and paper. These industries take plant mass and use the process of hydrolysis to separate useful materials, including cellulose and hemicellulose, from lignin. “What we’re trying to do is find new uses for this lignin co-product, which ties into sustainability,” Smith said. Several properties make lignin a valuable material. It is adhesive when it becomes moist, making it good for binding soil particles together and


Dependable and stable dirt roads are important to Kansans, not only for agriculture and commerce, but also for safety. This grass fire took place west of Great Bend in July in a rural area served only by dirt roads.

providing cohesion. As a result, lignin works very well on unpaved roads by providing better support for vehicles and protecting the road from erosion. Because Kansas is an agricultural state, lignin is an abundant resource and has the potential to improve unpaved roads, leading to less maintenance costs throughout the state, Smith said. “Lignin can be extracted from many types of crop residue, and it can also be an extra source of income to farmers and the agricultural community if there is a demand for this crop residue,” Smith said. “Lignin is a sustainable product. It’s 100 percent nontoxic, un-

like traditional soil stabilizers such as flash or cement, which do have some heavy materials in them that could contaminate soil.” Smith is working under the direction of Dunja Peric, associate professor of civil engineering. “Kansas is strategically positioned for using lignin to stabilize unpaved roads,” Peric said. “Kansas is located in the midst of the Great Plains, which is one of the largest wheat producing areas in the world. In addition, the construction of the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant has recently begun in Hugoton.” For his research, Smith takes soil and mixes it

with different amounts of water and lignin. He is testing five different lignin concentrations – 2 percent,

4 percent, 6 percent, 9 percent and 14 percent – to understand how different levels of lignin affect the

soil cohesion and, consequently, road erosion. See ROADS, 3D


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Horizontal wells increase, not yet in Barton Co. BY STEPHANIE YOUNG


technology used increasingly in southern Kansas may one day come to Barton County, but not yet. The Barton County area has seen its share of oil wells over the decades, but horizontal drilling may tap into oil reserves bypassed during traditional drilling. Horizontal wells drilled in Kansas so far focus on the 350 million year old Mississippian geologic formation, said Lynn Watney of the Kansas Geological Society. “Most of the current horizontal drilling activity … is focused on the Mississippian reservoirs,” Watney said. “Bar-


ton County’s oil production is mainly Arbuckle and LansingKansas City (formations). It is probable that horizontal wells will be drilled in the latter units.” No one has filed an intention to drill a horizontal well in Barton County to date, said Case Morris, supervisor of District 4, based in Hays, of the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Conservation Division which oversees intents to drill. “Not at the moment, but they’re moving north all the time,” he said. “It’s kind of a wait and see situation.”

This illustration compares a horizontal well (A) to a traditional vertical well (B). Graphic created by U.S. Energy Information Administration, Office of Oil and Gas, obtained via Kansas Geological Society.


ROADS, from page 2D Smith then lets the mixture dry in a controlled environment for different periods of time to understand how much it increases the strength of the samples. Other members of Peric’s research team have been testing the strength of lignin samples immediately after they are mixed rather than allowing them to dry. Once the materials are dry, Smith uses a direct shear device to determine the strength of the different mixtures. The direct shear device simulates the stress that unpaved roads experience when cars and heavy machinery drive on them. “When vehicles drive on unpaved roads, there is a lot of dust that is thrown into the air,” Smith said. “In addition, travel is impaired because of raveling and washboarding, which are forms of soil collapse on the top surface of the road. These are all things that can be mitigated by lignin because it holds the soil particles together and in place.” Based on early results,


This direct shear device determines the strength of different mixtures of soil, water and lignin. The device simulates the stress that unpaved roads experience when cars and heavy machinery drive on them.

the materials with lignin concentrations of 4 percent, 6 percent and 9 percent show the highest strength benefits. Smith will spend the spring semester further

testing all of the different concentrations and how their strength develops with the amount of elapsed time. “We want to get an ex-

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haustive analysis of how the cohesion varies when you change the concentration of lignin, the water content and the compaction,” Smith said. “That will determine

in the field, what percentage of lignin is the best concentration to stabilize the soil.” Smith will give a research presentation titled

“Feasibility of Using Lignin: Plant Derived Material for Stabilization of Unpaved Roads” at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka in February.

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BCC trains natural gas technicians BY SUSAN THACKER


or more than two decades, utility companies have been sending employees to Barton Community College to learn about pipeline corrosion. The original “classroom” looked like an open field, but the pipes buried on that site were put to use when the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) sponsored its International Corrosion Control Seminar. The 26th annual NACE corrosion control seminar was held earlier this month. Nowadays, students aren’t at the mercy of the elements when they attend this winter program. In 2003, represen-

tatives from the energy industry, state regulatory agencies, cities, corporations and area businesses met with Barton staff and formed the Midwest Utility and Pipeline Training Center Steering Committee. This led to the construction of an enclosed training center — a 6,000 square foot indoor pipe field. Today, Barton is the only college in Kansas to offer an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in natural gas transmission and distribution. Using instructors from the industry and state-of-the-art equipment, the training is based on what employers say their employees need to have. The instructor/ coordinator for this program, Mike Baugh, has been with BCC since 2008. He is a graduate of LeTour-

neau University in Longview, Texas. According to information from the college, there are many opportunities in the natural gas transmission and distribution industry for those with a strong technical background. Technicians are needed for corrosion control, gas measurement, instrumentation and electrical controls, pipeline construction, and programmable logic controller (PLC) programming. The college is also close to creating a Gas Measurement Technician program. The curriculum will be provided by major gas pipeline companies, and a mobile training unit will be available for onsite classes.


A seminar exhibitor demonstrates coating procedures in Barton Community College’s Case-New Holland training facility during the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International Corrosion Control Seminar. More than a hundred personnel from various utility companies, municipalities, transmission companies and pipeline and corrosion contractors visited the Barton campus Feb. 7-9 to participate in the 26th annual seminar.


Barton CTE program leads Wornkey to new career


lake Wornkey served his country for seven years before his time in the U.S. Army reached its end, and he began looking for work in 2010. Rather than settle for just any job, Wornkey sought opportunities to further his education, and ultimately chose Barton Community College to take him to the next level. He worked his way through Barton’s Natural Gas Technician program and is currently employed at the Wornkey City of Ellinwood. “I didn’t want to spend four years in college. I just wanted to get training and get a job,” he said. “The pace of classes was excellent and I really enjoyed it. It was amazing the amount I was able to learn in a short amount of time. They taught us a lot and got us out into the workforce, which is nice.” Though program length was a major factor in his decision to attend Barton, Wornkey said he was pleased with the accessibility and quality. “I live in Ellinwood, so I liked that the campus was local,” he said. “The quality of education was excellent, and I’d recommend Barton to anyone.” Wornkey said another benefit to Barton was the follow-through from his instructors. Even after graduation, his instructors went the extra mile and helped him find jobs for which he would be qualified. Though there were immediate openings in Texas and Oklahoma, Wornkey opted to stay local. “I wanted to stick around,” he said. “My wife works here and my family is all here, and we have a house in Ellinwood.” Wornkey has been employed by the City of Ellinwood for almost half a year now, and he has nothing but good things to say about the experience. “The courses were spot-on with the equipment I’m using now. I use a lot of the skills I learned every day, he said, adding he’s excited about his new career and will likely stay where he is well into the future. “I like the different things I do from day to day. I don’t always do the same job twice, and I like that variety.”

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Planning can mitigate drought effect BY MARK PARKER


Knowing when you’re in Drought - Critical Dates and Target Points

t’s true, you can’t do much about the weather, but you can do something about its impact on your grazing system. That was the consensus message from a full slate of experts at the Kansas Graziers Association Winter Conference, “Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch,” Jan. 21 in Emporia. Presented by the National Drought Mitigation Center, the in-depth workshop examined the effects of drought on forage systems as well as strategies to lessen that impact. Drought Center Researcher Tonya Haigh emphasized that there is not a single plan that works for every operation, but, she said, steps can be taken to significantly reduce farm and ranch vulnerability to drought. Natural Resources Conservation Service Range Management Specialist David Kraft told a large crowd of farmers and ranchers that the combination of dry weather and heavy grazing takes a heavy toll on forage vigor and productivity. Reduced cover — from both litter and standing plants — leaves the soil vulnerable to increased evaporative losses as well as extreme soil surface temperature and the impact of drying winds. Increased plant diversity in pastures, as well as avoiding over-grazing, results in healthier plants and plant roots and that means a quicker recovery from drought conditions. “What you do today impacts tomorrow. What you do this year impacts next year,” Kraft said. “We have to take advantage of good years to prepare for the bad.” The Emporia-based range specialist suggested that a drought plan focus

on efforts to protect vegetation during extreme dry periods. He also advised that producers establish in advance drought management procedures — such as reducing stocking rates — as well as the “trigger points” that put those procedures into effect. University of Nebraska Forage Specialist Jerry Volesky asserted that “forage has never been more valuable” than it is in the current beef industry economy. He discussed a variety of management tools to address forage shortages, including preg-checking and selling open cows earlier, utilizing corn stalks, supplementing with dried distillers grains, stricter culling and early weaning of calves. “It is estimated that about 10 pounds of forage is conserved for each day that a calf is weaned. Ten pounds of forage is about 40 percent of the daily requirements for a cow,” he said, adding that there would be a positive effect on cow weight and body condition as well. Kansas rancher Ted Alexander shared some of the steps he’s taken as part of his drought management plan. He emphasized the importance of measuring rainfall to better understand its effect on forage crude protein content as well as productivity. Alexander’s drought mitigation measures, which are triggered by previously identified conditions, include reducing yearling grazing days, early weaning and reduced stocking rates. Additionally, he has taken steps to “drought-proof” his ranch by installing pipelines and waterers and eliminating non-productive pasture plants such as eastern red

On your critical date

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cedars. The Sun City rancher’s advice for the attendees was, “Stay flexible. Do the planning and then implement that plan.” Flexibility is an essential component of a drought management plan, said NRCS Range Specialist Dwayne Rice. He advised producers to begin by estimating their average sustainable carrying capacity during average climatic conditions. The manager should then divide — on paper — his or her existing herd into at least three herds. The “A” herd would be the number one priority group, consisting, for example, of the most profitable cows and yearling heifers with high potential value. The “B” herd could include replacement heifers and/or steers nearing their target weight. The “C” herd would include cattle that could be readily sent to market in short-forage situations — older cows, inferior cows,

early weaned calves. By prioritizing the herd, Rice said, producers can avoid “knee-jerk” reactions to drought conditions. Preestablished trigger dates — based on rainfall and forage conditions — would then set the producer’s plan in action. Trigger dates should also reflect pivotal periods for forages grown on the farm or ranch. In eastern Kansas, for example, conditions on April 15 would be an indicator of what type of production to expect from cool season grasses. Strategic financial planning is another important aspect of drought management planning, according to Barry Dunn of South Dakota State University. Dunn suggested the producers begin with an inventory of all aspects of their operations, including balance sheets and risk assessments as well as physical and human resources. Each farm or ranch should also develop a vision

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Take appropriate action (action plan)

statement of the operation’s goals and plan strategies for various scenarios, including the occurrence of drought. A relatively new tool for dealing with the financial impact of drought was discussed by Amy Roeder of USDA’s Risk Management Agency. RMA is now offering Pasture, Rangeland and Forage insurance through a pilot program that includes Kansas. The policies, Roeder said, are based on a rainfall index that utilizes National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center Data. Insurance indemnities, Roeder explained, are based on the deviation from normal precipitation in a given area during a specific time period (or periods) selected by the participating producer. Time periods are in two-month intervals so producers can decide which periods correlate to forage growth in their operations.

More information, including an online decision tool, is available at www. Drought conditions across much of Kansas are not likely to moderate in the near future, Kansas Climatologist Mary Knapp told the crowd. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than half of the state is rated as abnormally or exceptionally dry, a situation forecast to continue in the southern part of Kansas. A La Nina situation is persisting in the tropical Pacific Ocean, Knapp noted, and that means it will continue to influence drier-than-normal conditions in the Southern Plains. Additionally, she pointed out, fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (oscillations) in the Atlantic and Pacific are weakening which also supports La Nina’s persistence. La Nina conditions are expected to weaken eventually and be replaced sometime this summer with El Nino conditions that warm the equatorial Pacific and favor wetter conditions in Kansas and across the Central Plains. The drought management program was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. Participants received a “Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch handbook containing information that is also available online at http:// In addition to the National Drought Mitigation Center, the Kansas Graziers Association and the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, workshop sponsors included the Kansas Rural Center, the Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.

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CULTIVATING KNOWLEDGE Master of agribusiness trip offers tour of European food and agriculture industry; spaces are still available MANHATTAN – Kansas State University’s master of agribusiness program is offering the opportunity to learn more about the food and agriculture industry of Europe through a trip to France, Italy and Switzerland. The trip, Aug. 1-13, will include stops in Lyon and Paris, France; Rome and Milan, Italy; and Lucerne, Switzerland. The tour is open to anyone with an interest in international agribusiness. Nearly 25 individuals have committed to joining the group, but there is space for a few more. Participants will visit crop and cattle farms, dairies, cheese-making operations, wineries and olive groves, as well as other agricultural and food-related industries. Guided sightseeing tours will be arranged along with free time to explore Rome and Paris. Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of the master of agribusiness program, said the tour offers a great opportunity for North American decision-makers in food and agriculture to look at major competitors in grains, beef and dairy. “European consumers are much more focused

on local production and the connection with where and how their food is produced,” Featherstone said. “In addition, their views on the use of biotechnology differ quite substantially from those in the U.S. and other regions. Understanding the producers’ reactions to a very different food consumer may be helpful if U.S. consumers’ attitudes toward food continue to change.” Previous international trips offered by the master of agribusiness program have been to South America, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. “These trips have been to countries with amazing and diverse scenery and have exposed us to fascinating cultural and scenic aspects that an average tourist would not have the opportunity to experience,” said Leah

Tsoodle, land use value coordinator at Kansas State University. “One of my favorite things was getting to know the group members. There is such a great dynamic on master of agribusiness program trips.” Kansas State University’s master of agribusiness program is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students and alumni of the program work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the U.S. and in more than 25 countries. More information about the trip is available at Alumni/Europe12.html or by contacting Mary Bowen at 785-532-4435 or mjbowen@k-state. edu.

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WELLS, from page 3D Two nearby counties have already had either a well drilled or an intent filed. Craig Biggs, controller for Duke Drilling Co. in Great Bend, has been involved with Rice County’s first horizontal well which is barely a month old. “It’s in between Nickerson and Lyons,” Biggs said. The well in Rice County went down 3,800 feet before breaking off horizontally another 4,000 feet, Biggs said. That well penetrates the Mississippian formation. Another horizontal well has been proposed for the Mississippi in Reno County for a depth of 8,200 feet. Richard Boeckman, Barton County Administrator and Economic Development Director, said he believes a horizontal well would be a boon for the county.

“I hope we get it here, I really do” he said. During a recent economic development conference, he spoke with a fellow official from Sumner County who has seen an increase in drilling with the new technology in addition to a casino. “They really are in the middle of a boom down there,” he said. “They’ve strengthened their infrastructure and housing. They’re looking at thousands of new people.” He also mentioned the benefit to farmers and other landowners, and added tax income to the county. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. Watney added that much depends on the profitability of the venture. “The surge in horizon-

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tal wells has been in the search for oil rather than gas and Barton County is oil country,” he said. “If operators believe they have bypassed oil production, a horizontal well might be warranted if the reserves are sufficient to support the cost … which can range from two times more and up.” On the flip side, Watney said many Arbuckle formation fields have a well every 10 acres, which might limit drilling opportunities because of fewer reserves. The technology for horizontal wells has been around for decades, Watney said, but it has only become economically feasible in the last few years. “It’s an exciting time for our rural areas where oil and gas have been important components of its economy,” he said.

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Research sprouts a closer look at sunflower genetics MANHATTAN – A Kansas State University researcher’s plant genetic work is rooted in the sunflower state. Mark Ungerer, associate professor of biology, has two major research projects that involve evolutionary change in sunflowers, the state flower of Kansas. “What we do in the lab is referred to as ecological or evolutionary genetics,” Ungerer said. “We study naturally occurring species and try to understand the genetic basis or genetic underpinnings of natural variation.” There are more than 50 species of sunflowers. Some are annual plants – meaning they germinate, flower and die in one year – and some are perennial plants that grow and bloom every year and live longer. Ungerer’s first project focuses on five species of annual sunflowers: two parent species and three hybrid derivative species. All three hybrid species arose from ancient hybridization events between the same two parents – an unusual way for new species to develop, Ungerer said. “What also makes the system unique is that the hybrid species are recently derived in the last half a million years,” Ungerer said. “It seems like a long time, but that is actually pretty recent in evolutionary terms.” But there is another interesting aspect of the three hybrid species: While they have the same number of chromosomes as the two parent species, the hybrid species’ genomes are 50 to 75 percent larger in terms of the amount of DNA. Ungerer’s research team made an important discovery that explains this DNA difference. The researchers studied long terminal repeat, or LTR, retrotransposons, which are mobile genetic elements that can copy themselves and insert the copies into various chromosome locations. Ungerer’s team discovered that the hybrid species and the parent species were different because of massive proliferation events, or rapid reproduction, of the LTR retrotransposons. Not only that,


Professor Mark Ungerer at KSU is studying sunflowers. Here he measures a sunflower head; at slightly larger than 6 inches, it just about the right size, but doesn’t have many developing seeds.

these transposable elements are still active and cause mutations in sunflowers. “It’s like a smoking gun,” Ungerer said. “It helps us study the process.” The researchers now want to know the triggers of these proliferation events and how the species have reacted to this increase in genome size. Ungerer has received $610,000 from the National Science Foundation to study these rapid proliferation events and how they affect the evolution of the hybrid sunflowers. “Although virtually all plants and animals have these types of sequences in their genomes, we still know very little about what phenomena cause them to amplify and make extra copies of themselves,” Ungerer said. Ungerer is studying two naturally occurring phenomena – hybridization and stress – that are hypothesized to cause proliferation of these mobile DNA sequences. The group of five annual sunflowers provides


These black shiny seeds are an example of oilseed sunflower seeds that produced the plant pictured above. The hybrid is Triumph 665. Oilseed sunflower is used for many purposes, primarily for cooking oil, lubricating oil for machines, and even birdseed. The kind you eat for a snack is called confectionary sunflower.

an excellent system to study the roles of hybridization and stress because not only have the three hybrid species arisen from ancient hybridization events,

but they also are locally adapted to harsh and stressful environments, unlike their parental species. Two of the hybrid species grow in the desert and the

third hybrid species grows in salt marshes, Ungerer said. Ungerer’s second project looks at clinal variation of a perennial sunflower species. This species has a wide geographic distribution across central North America and grows in areas from Texas north to Manitoba, Canada. Ungerer wants to understand population differences between sunflowers in different parts of the region. For this research, Ungerer’s team is conducting common garden experiments, which involve gathering seeds from each of the populations across central North America. The Kansas seeds came from the Konza Prairie Biological Station. The seeds are then grown in the same common garden at Kansas State University. “If you see differences among plants in a common garden experiment, you attribute that to genetic differences of populations at these different locations,” Ungerer said. “We have found striking differences.” Some of these striking differences include germination and flowering time. For example, because the growing season in Manitoba is much shorter, sunflowers grow quickly and flower in about two months. In Texas, where the growing season is much longer, sunflowers grow much slower and the plants grow much larger before they flower in about seven months. “Now we are trying to expand this research to look at some of the underlying genetics of these differences,” Ungerer said. His second project has been funded by the K-State Integrated Genomic Facility and the Division of Biology’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. In addition to his sunflower work, Ungerer has several ongoing research projects. He is studying freezing tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant species, across several geographic regions. He is also working with other K-State biology researchers to study mating patterns of the bison herd on Konza.

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FARMING A NOTABLE EVENT Roots of agriculture in Kansas run deep, but eyes look to future


n observance of the Kansas 150, Governor Sam Brownback’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Kansas History announced 12 Notable Events in Kansas History on Jan. 24 in Topeka. This list represents those events that had a national or international impact, and among them was March 5, 1862. This was the day the Kansas Department of Agriculture was created, and is considered the birth of organized farming in the Sunflower State. The nation’s first department of agriculture traces its roots back to 1855. It was during the meeting of the first territorial legislature that an agricultural committee was formed, and laws were passed to protect and aid farmers in Kansas Territory. The laws dealt with claims, strays, hedging on roads, weights and measurements, and horse stealing. Two years later a printed notice asked Kansas farmers to attend an open air meeting in Topeka, to form the Kansas Agriculture Society. The group worked to promote agriculture even before Kansas achieved statehood. The society kept records and gave reports on agricultural production in Kansas. Records of this earliest society are sparse. By a quirk of fate the group’s records were placed for safekeeping with the Kansas Historical Society in Lawrence. When a fiery rebel named Quantrill raided the town, he burned the Society’s records along with a large part of Lawrence. After Kansas achieved statehood, many counties agreed with the idea of an agricultural society. Agriculture on the plains required new techniques and ever improving ideas for production. The counties formed their own societies, the main function of which was to host a county fair. These fairs were a way for farmers to exchange new farming ideas with their neighbors, acknowledge successes, and provide entertainment. The flaw of these independent societies is that they failed to communicate with each other. It was


Kansas’ identity can closely be related to its agricultural history. Pictured above is an old farmstead in northern Barton County.

decided that a state organization must be created, and the Kansas State Agricultural Society was born. This state society collected information from all counties and distributed it, ensuring that all across Kansas shared ideas. The society also provided funding to explore what new crops might be introduced to Kansas farming, and how best to raise them. Other states became interested in the structure created in Kansas and began to create agricultural societies of their own. In 1862 the federal government created an agricultural department to protect farmers and connect the various state societies. While the Kansas society was successful in many ways, it often suffered from lack of financial support. The society asked for aid from the state government, but as it was not a state agency, little help was offered. In 1872 the Kansas Legislature created the State Board of Agriculture from the structure of the Agriculture

Society. As a state agency the board could accomplish more, and be connected to the larger federal system. The board’s early years were spent organizing a state fair and acting as an immigration agency to attract needed settlers to homestead in Kansas. Farms and towns emerged on the fertile plains of the future wheat state. The Board of Agriculture, through an annual report and various publications about Kansas, served as a source of information and new techniques in farming. Through grasshopper plagues, droughts, and blizzards, and through the invention of barbed wire, the development of combines, and advances undreamed in 1872, the Kansas Department of Agriculture has served the producers and consumers of Kansas agricultural products. Agriculture in Kansas Kansas is known as the “Wheat State” and “Breadbasket

of the World.” Farming has been a way of life in Kansas, impacting its politics, laws, innovations, culture, social customs, and traditions. The economy relies on many agricultural businesses including those related to storing, transporting, and processing farm products. Some of the earliest people to live in this area were gardeners. In addition to hunting for game, early people gathered and ate wild plants. The best seeds were saved and planted in soil near their homes, beginning the tradition of farming. Usually the role of women, these people used buffalo bones as tools to plant and harvest crops. Corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers, were grown and harvest was stored underground in pits. Plantings would often occur in the spring just before families headed west for the hunting season. They would return from hunting in time for harvest. Settlers from the eastern

United States and from European countries brought farming traditions when Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854. These people often brought seeds of the crops they had planted in their homelands. Farmers planted corn for eating and for forage and also experimented with oats, cotton, tobacco, and even grapes in vineyards. These crops did not fare as well in the Kansas climate. The grasshopper plague of 1874 and subsequent droughts led to the decline of corn in Kansas. Mennonite settlers arriving from Russia were accustomed to growing wheat in a prairie climate. They found success with wheat in Kansas and encouraged other farmers to plant it here, thereby helping to create the wheat-state tradition. As wheat grew in popularity, technology advanced, making it possible to work larger areas in shorter periods of time. “The harvesting of the extensive areas of wheat,” said a Kansas farmer in 1880, “presents a picture of unique and fascinating interest. The pastoral old ‘cradling’ process is here superseded by an epic; the plentiful reaping-machine ... leaves the wheat lying behind it in a swath ... next the self-raker, which drops it in convenient little bunches, ready for binding, then the header, which clips off only the tips and the stems, emptying them into a large uncouth box on an attendant wagon; and finally the self-binder ... with a single sinister arm tossing the sheaves from it in such a nervous, spiteful feminine style.” Most farmers wanted to grow crops that they could sell. The standard farm size was 160 acres – too large for farms that provided all their needs, but not quite large enough for commercial ventures. With technological advancements from 1850 to 1930, farming began to be big business in Kansas. Horse-drawn sulky plows appeared and horses and mules powered the threshers that harvested the crops. Kansas farmers See HISTORY, 10D

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Southern Star plans gas expansion Will natural gas replace oil? BY JIM MISUNAS


LDEN — An environmental assessment has been completed on a proposed Alden Gas Storage field expansion project in Rice County. The expansion would encompass 3,272 acres and double the storage capacity near 10th Road and Ave V. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prepared an environmental assessment that discusses the environmental impacts of the Alden Gas Storage Field Expansion Project, involving the expansion of the certificated boundary and buffer zone of the existing Alden Gas Storage Field by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline Inc. in Rice County. The EA is to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Impacts are considered for geology and soils, land use, water resources, fisheries, and wetlands, cultural resources, vegetation and wildlife, air quality and noise, endangered and threatened species and public safety. Landowners and owners are typically contacted by a storage company representative about the acquisition of mineral rights and an easement to convert, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if negotiations to

obtain an easement or mineral rights fail to produce an agreement, the company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state or federal law. Southern Star requested authorization to expand its existing certificated boundary and buffer zone of its existing Alden Gas Storage Field located in Rice County to ensure the field’s integrity and protection. The certified storage boundary/buffer currently encompasses 3,540 acres and operates with a maximum storage capacity of 14.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) with a working capacity of 4.2 Bcf. Southern Star officials state they will attempt to acquire all mineral rights from the base of the Kansas City Limestone to the top of the Arbuckle Limestone in this area to prevent any further production that could compromise the integrity of the Alden Storage Field. Southern Star proposes to expand the storage field boundary and buffer zone by an additional 1,592 acres for its storage reservoir in the Misener Sandstone and to acquire gas storage rights and related mineral rights in the Simpson Sandstone for 2,480 acres, which is below the Misener Sandstone. About 1,680 acres of the 2,480 acres in the Simpson Sandstone is within the currently certificated boundary of the Alden Storage Field. The total acreage affected by the requested authorizations is 3,272 acres. Southern Star also has planned to convert two active oil/gas production wells within the planned expansion acreage, called the Rama Wellman No. 1 Well and the Langston Wellman Ranch No. 2 Well, into pressure observation wells. Southern Star officials believe that the conversion of these production wells to observation wells is neces-

sary because the wells are currently producing gas from its Alden Storage Field. Southern Star would also remove two existing tank battery facilities dedicated to each of the production wells. Southern Star’s proposal would not change the current operational parameters or capabilities of the storage field. Within six months of the receipt of the authority requested, Southern Star would install a small compressor unit of less than 50 horsepower and construct about 0.75 mile of 4-inchdiameter pipeline parallel to an existing Southern Star 16-inch-diameter pipeline to recover storage gas from the Simpson formation through an existing well, called the O-5 well, which would function as a gas recovery well to recycle gas back to the Misener reservoir. Within a year of receiving the authorizations requested, Southern Star would drill an observation well within the current boundaries of the northeast section of the Alden Storage Field in the Simpson Sandstone to monitor for storage gas migration. Construction of the Rama Wellman No. 1 Well would disturb about 0.9 acre of land including the temporary workspaces and access road for the well conversion and to remove associated tank battery facilities. Construction of the proposed Langston Wellman Ranch No. 2 Well would disturb about 2.3 acres of land that includes the temporary workspaces and an access road for this well conversion and to remove tank battery facilities. Following construction, about 0.3 acre would be maintained for permanent operation of each of the observation wells; the remaining acreage would be restored and allowed to revert to former uses. Permanent access roads at each observation well are proposed.



he United States may end its reliance on foreign oil by converting to natural gas. According to information from Mike Baugh, coordinator of Barton Community College’s Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution program, natural burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, and is in abundant supply. “We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” Baugh said, quoting a statement made by President Barack Obama in January. “The price of natural gas has been really flat lately,” Baugh said, noting, “more is produced than we need to heat homes and water.” But all that could change as Americans convert from oil to natural gas. Since the 1990s, more power generators have begun to use natural gas to make electricity, for example. “The next big thing I see is natural gas-powered vehicles,” Baugh said. Honda Civic has offered a natural gas model, the GX, for years. President Obama is touting natural gas. In January, the president also said, “We’ve got a supply of natural gas under our feet that can last America nearly a hundred years. Developing it could power our cars, our homes, and our factories in a cleaner and cheaper way. The experts believe it could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.” All of which could lead to an explosion is the natural gas industry, Baugh notes. According to industry figures, at least 5,200 new technical workers must be brought into the natural gas transmission industry each year just to make up for retirements and workers leaving the industry. The expected growth of natural gas transmission companies will increase the number of new hires required by 1,500 annually. Related industries will also need to grow. To frack or not to frack One of the world’s greatest sources of natural gas production is right here in Kansas – the Hugoton Natural Gas Field. But by 2007 production had been declining for about a decade. That’s when a report from the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas looked at ways to possibly extend the life of the field. Scientists estimated 65 percent of

the gas may have been removed from the field since its discovery in 1922. Today, producers have their eye on the huge Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania and New York. In the past, producing natural gas from this formation wasn’t economically feasible, but advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – have changed that. Fracking is making it possible to retrieve gas that was previously unattainable. The process involves injecting millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand at high pressure down a deep well. This causes the formation to crack, allowing natural gas or oil to flow up the well. Fracking is currently a controversial subject, as it has been linked to contaminated groundwater in places such as Pavillion, Wyo. In 2010, Josh Fox released the documentary “Gasland,” which is critical of the industry’s assertions that the practice is safe. Last November, after earthquakes rattled Oklahoma, some people even questioned whether fracking was responsible. “My research indicates fracking is safe,” Baugh said. “I think folks need to realize (the industry has) been using this process for 60 years.” In fact, Halliburton posted this essay titled “Fracturing 101” on its website: “If finding and producing energy in America were as easy as Jed Clampett and his rifle made it look in the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies, we probably wouldn’t have needed to pioneer a well stimulation technology known as hydraulic fracturing. But it isn’t, and so we did – first using the process in 1947 to stimulate flow of natural gas from the Hugoton field in Kansas. “How successful was that first operation? All these years later, that’s still the source of some friendly disagreement – but here’s what’s not: Over the past six decades, hydraulic fracturing has helped deliver more than 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to American consumers, the product of more than 1.1 million separate and successful fracturing applications during that time.” Whether the process is proven safe or proven to contaminate water supplies, the search for natural gas will continue, creating new job opportunities and new opportunities for education and research.

Sunflower Diversified Services

Q. What other local agency offers this range of services? A. There isn’t one that even comes close. Sunflower unveils Focus on Abilities program Sunflower sponsors walk to benefit the disabled New hearing equipment available for screening kids First Step Recycling adds mobile shredding service Home visits important for special needs children Early Ed Center helps children overcome delays Women reach new level of independence Sunflower EEC staff receives autism training Tools, training help EEC correct behavior disorders Gift gives speechless man a voice Sunflower Diversified Services starts outreach program Lunch & Learn at Sunflower changes perceptions Sunflower, college join forces for program ‘Tenacious’ 6-year old reaches milestone ICC supports Sunflower’s early ed center Headlines from The Great Bend Tribune

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FARMING MORE EFFICIENTLY Precision ag now starting to take root in area farms BY DALE HOGG

Study examines precision ag


hat is precision farming? In a nutshell, it is the practice of utilizing new technology that allows farmers to look at their fields more site specifically than before and apply inputs in a manner more specific than a blanket application, said Randy Price, precision farming specialist for the Department of Ag Engineering at Kansas State University. In theory, this technology saves money while holding or enhancing yield output of the field. Environmental pollution is also be reduced using this method. This technology is currently coming of age and many new pieces of farm equipment are being offered with this capability, he said. The foundation of this trend is the global positioning satellite system which allows the equipment and sensors to know where they are located. This technology will continue to grow until real-time sensors can adequately evaluate the soil and environmental conditions on-the-go as the implement is pulled through the soil, providing the needed information to plant, fertilize and apply other inputs to obtain maximum yield for that parcel of land. Remote sensing may also be used for large land area evaluation. “It’s still not widely practiced,” Price said. This may change as more specialized equipment becomes available and the technology improves. “All that stuff is getting cheaper.” The bottom line, he said, is to save time and money. By breaking fields into smaller increments, a farmer can vary the rate he applies chemicals “to match what the crop needs in that area,” Price said. Guidance systems that prevent overlap when a farmers makes his laps around a field and




Michael Bahr, right, shows one of the satellite maps he uses to help farmers improve crop production to Greg Bauer, supervisory district conservationist with the National Resource Conservation Service.

satellite images showing soil make-up are among the options available. Lessons from the field Michael Bahr and his wife Terri operate Tall Crop crop consulting and Great Plains Precision Agriculture. In business for 16 years, Tall Crop works with 21 farms in Barton County. “It all started with no-till,” Bahr said of the practice of leaving crop residue intact when planting the next crop. From there, Tall Crop started promoting other conservation methods, such as cover crops, improving soil health, grazing and the use of crop rotation to control insects. Using soil samples, Tall Crop offers suggestions on such matters as no-till and irrigation management. “We are definitely proponents of high-production agriculture.” It just takes a combination of traditional chemical use and non-chemical biological-based tactics. “The net profit is the important thing,” he said. “This takes

high-yield crops at a minimal input.” About nine months ago, Bahr started another venture, Precision Ag. By utilizing global positioning satellites and other satellite imagery, they map fields. These track levels of organic matter, temperatures and topography. By combining these map layers with soil types and yield histories, the farmer gets a complex picture of his fields. Using these, the amount of fertilizer, chemicals and water can be adjusted based on multiple “management zones” within the fields. “The more data you have, the better,” he said. He uses a number of special implements and equipment to gather the information. Through varying what they apply to the ground, they can cut production costs. “It’s gone way beyond auto (GPS-guided) steering on tractors,” Bahr said of the early days of precision agriculture. But, “farmer response has See PRECISION, 11D

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ast October, the United States Department of Agriculture released a study on precision agriculture. The findings pointed to an increase in the practice, but still some reticence among farmers to adopt them. “Efficient input use in agriculture is increasingly a priority of producers, the public, and policymakers,” the report notes. One way to increase efficiency in agriculture is through the adoption of precision technologies, which use information gathered during field operations, from planting to harvest, to calibrate the application of inputs and economize on fuel use. While it holds promise for improving the efficiency of input use, adoption of precision agriculture – encompassing a suite of farm-level information technologies to better target the application of inputs and practices – has not been as rapid as previously envisioned.” What Did the Study Find? Adoption of the main precision information technologies – yield monitors, variable-rate applicators, and GPS maps – has been mixed among U.S. farmers. Recent data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey show that use of yield monitors, often a first step in using precision technology for grain crop producers, has grown most rapidly, and was used on 40-45 percent of corn and soybean acres in 2005-06. See STUDY, 11D

HISTORY, from page 10D were able to work the large, open prairie with these cultivators, binders, and reapers that replaced manual operations. A single farmer could do the work of several men. With three workhorses pulling a one-bottom walking plow, he could break only about two acres in one day. With a two-bottom plow and a four or five horse-drawn sulky, he could plow five to seven acres. Steam traction engines powered threshing machines in the 1870s and 1880s that enabled farmers to work and harvest larger areas of land. The internal combustion engines that replaced steam engines in implements during the early 20th century increased efficiency and the number of acres that could be farmed. As early as 1888 people were proclaiming Kansas the wheat state. “All parts of Kansas grow good corn but in wheat Kansas can beat the world,” the Topeka Daily Capital wrote in 1888. During the 20th century Kansas confirmed the predictions and became a leader in the production of wheat. Increased demand during World War I and World War II, hardy wheat varieties, large combines and other implements, large open fields, and rich soil helped secure the state’s place in the agriculture industry. Today Kansas is a leader in wheat, grain sorghum, and beef production, feeding people around the world. Learn more about these farmers in Kansas history. Information from the Kansas State Historical Society.

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PRECISION, from page 10D been good. They are ready for technology.â&#x20AC;? According to Bahr, 70 percent of farmers own a smart phone. All his trucks are mobile offices, equipped with Internet capability, and he communicates updates and information to his clients via phone, a website, e-mail and Twitter. This all comes in real time without delays. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every farmer needs something,â&#x20AC;? he said. Precision Ag works all over the state and into Missouri with farmers big and small. Bahrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ancestors settled in the Olmitz area in 1872. That ground is still in the family. Despite the high-tech tools, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it still comes down to stomping in the fields,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been exciting. I enjoy agriculture.â&#x20AC;? Precision ag goes beyond crops in the field. As thousands of cattle watched, Barton County Feeders Manager Cap Proffitt toured the facility from the cab of his pickup. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Running a feedlot is about so much more than tossing a bunch of feed on the ground and feeding cattle,â&#x20AC;? he said. It has become an environmentally conscious, high-tech business. Proffitt and Barton County Feeders are two years into a five-year, multi-million upgrade of the feedlotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water treatment system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to encourage proper stewardship,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to be good neighbors and responsive to the community.â&#x20AC;? After all, he lives only a short distance from the lot. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We drink the water, too.â&#x20AC;? Waste water is the run-off from the livestock holding areas which contains, well, livestock waste. Feedlots are designed sloped so this water flows into lagoons where the moisture evaporates, leaving the waste behind. For over 10 years, BCF has had monitoring wells tapping the groundwater which flows west to east 17-20 feet under the facility. The water was sampled regularly. The goal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; keep the waste from creeping into that underground river. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were right on the edge,â&#x20AC;? Proffitt said. No contamination had seeped through, but KDHE said BCF was â&#x20AC;&#x153;marginalâ&#x20AC;? and suggested it undertake a program to bolster groundwater safety. The feedlot already had a network of underground culverts and pumps to transfer waste water from lagoon to lagoon to prevent the contents from spilling over the top. Some of the water was already being pumped to three center-pivot irrigation systems which spread the fertilizer-rich water onto fields owned by BCF.

STUDY, from page 10D However, farmers have mostly chosen not to complement this yield information with the use of detailed GPS maps or variable-rate input applicators that capitalize on the detailed yield information. Some of the possible factors behind this adoption lag include farm operator education, technical sophistication, and farm management acumen. The report is not testing the impacts of precision agriculture on other farm practices like conservation tillage, but some associations between the various factors are noted. Among the reportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s findings: â&#x20AC;˘ Corn and soybean yields were significantly higher for yield monitor adopters than for non-adopters nationally. This yield differential for corn grew from 2001 to 2005. Yield monitors are being adopted more quickly by farmers who practice conservation tillage. â&#x20AC;˘ Corn and soybean farmers using yield monitors had lower per-acre fuel expenses. Average per-acre fertilizer But, more was recommended. The new structures exceed the guidelines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This allows us more flexibility than required,â&#x20AC;? Proffitt said. Speaking of options, BCF also installed a state-of-art global-positioning satellite guidance system on one of the existing center pivots. The field it waters includes a wetland area, which is federally protected and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be cultivated. This grassy strip winds its way through the field. So, the GPS allows for variable rate application of the pumped waste water, meaning the pivot automatically shuts down when passing over the wetland. It resumes irrigating after it is over the area. This is the only such unit in Barton County, perhaps in this part of the state. Meanwhile, Gerald and Lois Mauler, who live west of Great Bend, have taken steps to help preserve what water they have. The couple converted 135 acres from flood irrigation to sub-surface drip irrigation. The system was put in during the spring of 2010 and the field produced its first crop in 2011. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You use a lot less water, period,â&#x20AC;? Gerald said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is the most efficient method of irrigation.â&#x20AC;? SDI involves burying strips of tape about 18 inches in the ground. The tape has openings, and when water is pumped through them, it seeps out of the holes. In the Maulersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; case, the strips


expenses were slightly higher for corn farmers that adopted yield monitors, but were lower for soybean farmers. â&#x20AC;˘ In the Corn Belt, GPS maps and variable-rate technologies were used on 24 and 16 percent respectively of corn in 2005, and 17 and 12 percent of soybean acres in 2006, but nationally the adoption rates for variable-rate technologies were only 12 percent for corn and 8 percent for soybeans. â&#x20AC;˘ Average fuel expenses were lower, per acre, for farmers using variable-rate technologies for corn and soybean fertilizer application, as were soybean fuel expenses for guidance systems adopters. â&#x20AC;˘ Adopters of GPS mapping and variable-rate fertilizer equipment had higher yields for both corn and soybeans. â&#x20AC;˘ Adoption of guidance systems, which notify farm equipment operators as to their exact field position, is showing a strong upward trend, with 35 percent of wheat producers using it by 2009. are 60 inches apart. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any evaporation,â&#x20AC;? Lois said. Plus, the water has direct contact with the cropsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; roots. It uses about half the water the flood system did. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot less work and its low maintenance,â&#x20AC;? Gerald said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is better uniformityâ&#x20AC;? with how the water is distributed. It is also more energy efficient. He went from a 318-cubic-inch Chrysler engine used to power the flood system to a 30-horse-power John Deere motor. But, for a farmer, the bottom line is productivity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It gets better yields,â&#x20AC;? Gerald said. Gerald can also pump fertilizer to the crop via the tapes. This requires 25 percent less chemical and it goes directly to the root system. Pivots are the next best option, but SDI is still more efficient (90 percent compared to 80 percent). The problem with a center pivot is, even with drop nozzles, there is still evaporation. Sub-surface systems do cost more â&#x20AC;&#x201C; about $12,000 per acre opposed to $6,0007,000 per acre with a center pivot. But the savings help pay for the difference and there are federal grants available to help offset the expense. A state prospective â&#x20AC;&#x153;In addition to capitalizing on strengths





and addressing current weaknesses, Kansas will work toward the future by embracing technology and precision agriculture,â&#x20AC;? said Agriculture Secretary Dale A Rodman in January in testimony to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This trend in production increases coming mostly from increased yield has to continue for agriculture to succeed in feeding more people with fewer resources. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kansas has the potential to be the center for all agricultural technology. We are the home of Kansas State University, the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first land grant university. We will continue to emphasize the need for research, agriscience and technological advances, and K-State provides the foundation for such advancement. K-State is critical to developing the next generation of leaders for our stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural industry. With focus on both technological advancements and educational development, Kansas has the potential to become the silicon valley of 21st century precision agriculture.â&#x20AC;? Kansas is a small population state and resources are limited, Rodman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The potential economic growth in Kansas agriculture is not limited if these resources are used effectively. These resources â&#x20AC;&#x201C; dollars, people and otherwise â&#x20AC;&#x201C; must be invested and focused on those items that provide the best leverage of Kansasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; competitive differences.â&#x20AC;? Kansas net farm income was $3.4 billion in 2010. While final 2011 numbers are not yet available, U.S. net farm income increased by an estimated 28 percent last year. Agricultural retail, wholesale and manufacturing in Kansas accounts for approximately $50 billion in economic activity annually. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kansas is a key player in world markets, exporting more than $4.9 billion of agriculture products annually â&#x20AC;&#x201C; making agriculture the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest exporter,â&#x20AC;? he said. Trends in world agricultural demand indicate significant opportunity for accelerated growth in international markets for Kansas agriculture. In 2011, the global population passed the 7 billion mark. By 2050, this number will exceed 9 billion people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As leaders in the agriculture industry, you are aware that agriculture needs to produce as much food in the next 50 years as has been produced in the last 10,000 years, in order to feed a rapidly growing world.â&#x20AC;? In addition, GDP growth is increasing dramatically in some areas of the world, which will drive demand for higher quality protein. In fact, world meat consumption is predicted to double by 2050.





Perennial may be amber waves of grains’ future BY KAREN LA PIERRE


he waves of golden grain that line the fields of Kansas in June may take on a different look, if the perennial wheat that is being developed by the Land Institute in Salina has its way. Although Managing Director Scott Seirer thinks the wheat is at least 10 years away from commercial viability, he believes that the perennial wheat will feed the world for several reasons. The roots grow to 10 feet long, and can withstand drought while requiring less water overall. It would also stop erosion and provide biodiversity if planted with the Illinois bundleflower. There would no longer be annual planting, and it would require less irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers, said Seirer The institute has a couple of fields of perennial wheat grass, which is a native prairie plant, for sampling. “We harvest a crop every year. It performs almost like annual wheat,” said Seirer. “It’s harvested in late July. By August, the field is green.” However, there are some major disadvantages. “The yields of the intermediate wheat grass are one-fifth that of annual wheat,” said Seirer. “We want that higher.” He said that the work was slow. He envisions that the wheat would be interplanted with the Illinois bundle flower that would provide livestock


After two years of measuring growth by 3,000 intermediate wheatgrass plants (Agropyron intermedium), Land Institute workers bind them for cutting in late July 2005. The harvested plants were then measured for seed production. The institute, which is in Salina, works to domesticate this wild perennial to be a grain crop. It’s also being cross-bred with wheat. A perennial is a plant that comes back year after year.

feed and fix nitrogen. The grain would be separated with centrifugal force. In addition, the grass could be planted in marginal land. The Land Institute promotes sustainable farming across the world. They are corroborating with other researchers on perennial rice as well as perennial sorghum and sunflowers.

Seirer thought the wheat would have to be replanted every few years to maintain viability. The Land Institute was founded in 1976 and is a nonprofit institution. Dr. Victor Martin, Ag instructor at Barton Community College, has some concerns about the perennial wheat grass, although he said there were some positives.

“It has to be viable,” he said. “I have concerns about is productivity. I have to be shown that it works. “Perennial wheat is not a new idea,” he said. “How long can it be maintained?” He thought roughly “75 percent of farmers use crop rotation.” Perennial wheat could not be rotated annually. An area farmer, Dean

Laura Smith,

Stoskopf also had some concerns about perennial wheat. “The concept is fine,” he said. “The reality of getting it to commercialism is pretty challenging.” Stoskopf said that the wheat genome is three times more complicated than the human genome. “Wheat is a complex plant to try to change and have the seed that is

something we can eat. “That is where the challenge comes in,” said the farmer.

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Agricultural land values are increasing in 2012 BY CHUCK SMITH

Kansas faces a variety of taxing issues


wners of agricultural land in Kansas are taking a significant hit in tax costs this year, as they see their land valuation, and therefore taxes, rise significantly. County Appraiser Barbara Konrade noted it’s important to understand that agricultural land values are set at the state level and are set differently from other land. “It is a use value, using productivity and expenses of land devoted to agricultural use over an eight=year period with a lag time of two years. “The 2012 values were established using 2003 through 2010,” she noted. When Konrade sought input at the state level about why there would be a significant increase in agricultural land values, she connected with Zoe Gehr from the Property Valuation Department of the Kansas Department of Revenue. “She said a quick answer would be commodity prices, but several other factors also contribute to this value. It has always been my understanding that the state works with K-State to set these values.” Konrade stressed, the agricultural land values are not set at the county level. When she reported to the county officials, Gehr offered suggestions for why the values are increasing. “We have had quite a few inquiries as to why the valuations for cultivated land increased this year. Quick answer: increasing commodity



Even when this historic Depression-era photo was taken, and Kansas farms were under great stress, the valuation was still based on production. And now that system is bringing higher valuations, according to state information.

prices. “Commodity prices have been on the increase for several years — but it does take some time for those higher prices to affect the net incomes. “By statute, agricultural land values are calculated using an eight-year average, and includes a twoyear lag in our data. Therefore, the 2012 ag values are based on data years 2003 through and including 2010. “Obviously there are additional components influencing valuation

changes.” According to the Kansas Department of Revenue, there is a strict guideline for how the values are set. “The Kansas Constitution requires agricultural land to be valued based on its income or productivity. This is commonly called ‘use value’ appraisal. “The use value appraisal methodology was implemented in Kansas in 1989. These values are updated

Taxing issues are impacting Kansans in a variety of ways in 2012. Locally, county officials are concerned about what the state’s increase in agricultural property valuations will do to local property values. And the continuing changes in the state economy are having a variety of impacts on state revenue issues, as state officials have noted. Late in January, state officials announced that revenue receipts were below estimates by five percent, “mostly because of an increased number of income tax refunds paid out,” according to a report from Kansas Department of Revenue Public Information See TAXING, 2E





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KU Biodiesel Initiative hosted forum at National Biodiesel Conference


AWRENCE — A multidisciplinary group of researchers and students from the University of Kansas will have a prominent role at the nation’s largest biodiesel conference. The University of Kansas Biodiesel Initiative – a team of faculty and students that transforms used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel – hosted a forum at the ninth annual National Biodiesel Conference on Feb. 5 in Orlando, Fla. The KU group hosted the conference’s Collegiate Biodiesel Producers Forum, a session specifically for faculty and students involved in university-based biodiesel production. The forum is designed to address issues unique to university biodiesel facilities and to encourage students and

faculty to pursue research and careers in biodiesel. “It’s a big deal for us to host a forum at such a high-profile event,” said Susan Williams, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and KU Biodiesel Initiative team co-director. “This is a great opportunity to showcase the research KU is doing to address the world’s energy needs, and it’s exciting to be recognized as a model for other universities to emulate.” KU is among just a handful of universities with an on-campus biodiesel production lab, said Ilya Tabakh, a graduate research assistant with the KU Transportation Research Institute and co-director of the KU Biodiesel Initiative. So far, those individual labs have

RISE, from page 1E annually. “The values ... are calculated based on the inherent capabilities of the land and agricultural income following the guidelines set forth in K.S.A. 79-1476. “These values do not represent fair market value nor is fair market value used in the calculation of these values.” Setting values on lands where agriculture is carried out has long been a difficult issue. A Kansas State Agricultural College Department of Agricultural Economics publication from January, 1930, explained how the land is valued. In “Farm land values in Kansas,” by Harold Howe it explains: “The underlying principles involved in the valuation of land are the same as those met with in placing a price on any commodity. “Demand and supply are the governing factors

regardless of whether the commodity to be valued is a farm or a bushel of wheat. “When agricultural land is considered, land income is the controlling factor on the side of demand. “This income varies directly with the price of farm products. “As farm prices climb, the income from land increases, the ownership of the land becomes more prized, and the consequent bidding raises values. When a slump in prices of agricultural products occurs, the situation is reversed. “But it is necessary to go another step in the analysis and find what controls agricultural prices. In the last analysis, it is the demand of the population for food and other farm products. “The size of the population, then, and its rate of growth are most important in determining demand for land.”

KU biorefining initiative has economic potential for rural Kansans


AWRENCE — A biorefining initiative under way at the University of Kansas holds tremendous economic promise for rural Kansas, university and industry leaders told the Kansas Bioscience Authority today. Bala Subramaniam, director of KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, outlined how Kansas could become a leader in what promises to be a multibillion dollar biobased chemical industry.

had few opportunities to network with each other – or even assemble a contact list or comprehensive inventory of each other’s capabilities. “The forum will give us a better picture of what

Chemicals from grasses and after-harvest throwaways would be significantly more valuable than biofuels such as ethanol. Since biorefineries need to be located near sources of raw materials, this would create jobs near farms and in small towns across Kansas. “Non-food biomass could eventually replace petroleum entirely as a chemical feedstock for making everything from paints to packaging, dish soap to diapers,” said Subramaniam. “Such prod-

other university biodiesel production labs are out there, and what they’re working on,” Tabakh said. The National Biodiesel Conference is considered the nation’s premier biodiesel conference.

ucts are more profitable than fuels, so developing biorefineries that produce chemicals could help establish Kansas as a global leader in the use of renewable biomass to stimulate rural economic development.” “If the state captured as little as 1 percent of the current U.S. chemicals market, that would represent a $7.2 billion per-year See BIOREFINING, 3E

Hosted by the National Biodiesel Board, the fourday event is designed for policymakers, researchers and biodiesel industry leaders to explore topics such as governmental policy, technical issues

and marketing trends. The KU Biodiesel Initiative is a student-run operation to produce biodiesel from used cookSee BIODIESEL, 3E

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TAXING, from page 1E Officer Jeannine Koranda. The report noted that receipts were $30.6 million short of estimates for January. “Although individual income receipts were $33 million below estimates, Kansas is still on target to meet estimates for the year and revenue is 6.2 percent or $200.5 million more than it was one year ago,” according to the state information “‘Kansans are filing earlier this year and the department has seen a 25 percent increase people filing their taxes electronically,’ said Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan. ‘Due to these factors, many people are getting their refunds earlier than they have in previous years,’” the report explained. But the challenges are different from what were exhibited in an earlier administration, the state reported. “This is a positive change from when Kansas in 2009 delayed issuing refund checks due to insufficient funds and threatened to do so again in 2010.” And the state continues to enforce positive impacts for those who make use of modern technology, it was announced. “When people file electronically and have the refund deposited directly into their bank accounts, they will receive their money within a week instead of having to wait several weeks for a paper tax return and paper check to arrive in the mail. “Receipts continued to show signs of steady growth in other segments such as use tax which increased 23 percent or $7 million more than estimates.”

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BIODIESEL, from page 2E

ing oil generated on the KU campus. The initiative is based out of a refining lab in Burt Hall, where the discarded oil is refined, washed, tested and transformed into pure biodiesel capable of powering a conventional diesel engine. The biodiesel is then provided to KU’s landscaping and construction departments to power their vehicles. The lab currently refines approximately 40 gallons of environmentally friendly biodiesel every three days – or 3,500 gallons per year. The initiative’s goal is to produce enough biodiesel to power all KUs buses, landscaping and maintenance equipment, and on-campus generators. COURTESY PHOTO While researchers nationwide are focused on alternaThe used vegetable oil is brought in and heated in the barrels at the left. The oil is then mixed with methanol in the center. From there, it goes to the container to the right where tive fuels, KU’s efforts are distinctive in that they inteit is separated and washed several times.

grate research spanning the entire biofuels production process – from growing the plants that make the oil, to refining and producing the biofuel, to designing engines and machines that can use the fuel, to testing the environmental impact. It’s this integration of biofuels research across the entire “feedstock to tailpipe” spectrum at a single university that makes KU’s efforts unique. “A lot of places are looking at snapshots,” Williams said. “They may look at some of the processing or some of the emissions or some of the feedstocks, but very few places are doing this as an integrated approach. That’s what makes the KU initiative so special.”

BIOREFINING, from page 2E industry in Kansas. By comparison, total Kansas manufacturing in 2010 generated $17.4 billion in revenue,” he said. A public-private partnership to invest in research is essential to Kansas being a leader in biorefining, he said, which fits in with the Kansas Bioscience Authority’s mission of spurring research and economic growth. KU was joined in its presentation to the KBA by Tom Binder, senior vice president of research at Archer Daniels Midland, which is partnering with the university to develop biorefining technologies. ADM, the third-largest commodities company in the world, will initially relocate two company scientists to Lawrence early in 2012. They will be housed at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center and will work closely with researchers at the adjacent CEBC. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the KBA that biorefining research and commercialization is among the university’s highest research priorities. “We have existing strengths in this area, and the potential economic benefit to Kansas is enormous. Replacing petroleum with biomass provides a sustainable domestic source of chemicals and can create jobs across Kansas,” she said.

Kansas currently ranks fourth in the U.S. in the availability of biomass, said Subramaniam. Five percent of Kansas cropland, or 1.4 million acres, is sufficient to capture 1 percent of the U.S. chemicals market, or $7.2 billion per year, and would involve approximately 90 processing facilities, 8,100 direct jobs and indirect employment for 32,000 Kansans. In addition to biomass, Kansas also has a unique combination of other valuable assets such as oil, natural gas, wind energy and pipeline/transportation infrastructure that are essential to support a thriving biobased-chemicals industry. ADM has sponsored two proprietary research projects at KU for making chemicals from biomass. The findings of those projects led to a three-year, $2.4 million biorefining grant to KU’s CEBC, with half the funds provided by the Kansas Bioscience Authority. The success of that program was a major factor in KU receiving a fouryear, $5.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this year. ADM is also a partner in this grant, providing approximately $1.4 million of in-kind funding. CEBC currently partners with eight other chemical, energy and technology development companies, including Procter & Gamble and Evonik, on

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biomass-to-chemicals research projects. Subramaniam said that continued state investments should attract even more companies to Kansas. Gray-Little added that the biorefining initiative ties in well with the expansion of KU’s engineering enrollment approved earlier this year by the governor and the Legislature, as well

as the Governor’s Rural Opportunity Zones program, which is designed to repopulate and rejuvenate rural Kansas communities. “Fulfilling the potential for biorefining will require us to provide the industry with a greater number of engineering graduates,” she said. “We aim to meet both those challenges.”

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‘Meating’ a solution: Research finds that LED lights extend meat shelf life, save retailers money


ANHATTAN – A switch to LED lights in refrigeration units could save the retail meat industry millions of dollars each year, according to research from Kansas State University. Kyle Steele, recent master’s graduate in animal sciences and industry, Silver Lake, found that using light-emitting diode, or LED, lights in refrigeration units both saves energy for meat retailers and extends the shelf life of some beef products. “By using LED lighting in meat retail display cases, Kansas retailers can save money by lowering the operational costs of refrigerated cases and extending the color shelf life of fresh meat products,” Steele said. “Additionally, by extending the color shelf life, retailers have a greater opportunity to sell the product at full price, and the state of Kansas can gain tax revenue from the full retail price rather than a discounted price.” Steele compared the use of LED lights and fluorescent lights in meat refrigeration units because many meat retailers currently use fluorescent lights. He worked with Elizabeth Boyle and Melvin Hunt, both professors of animal sciences and industry, as well as with Melissa Weber, recent doctoral graduate in animal sciences and industry, Collinwood, Tenn. During refrigerated display, the color of fresh meat changes because of its natural chemistry and exposure to oxygen. Because color is a large factor that influences


This photo shows the many different Led Light bulbs.

customers in purchasing meat, some consumers discriminate against discolored meat. These discolored meat products must either be discounted or discarded, which has been estimated to cost the meat industry up to a billion dollars each year, Steele said. For his research, Steele looked at five different meat products: pork loin chops, beef loin steaks, ground beef, ground turkey and beef inside round steaks. Steele looked at several aspects of these meat products and their refrigeration units: Discoloration: The researchers brought in trained color panel-


Parts of an LED. Although not directly labeled, the flat bottom surfaces of the anvil and post embedded inside the epoxy act as anchors, to prevent the conductors from being forcefully pulled out from mechanical strain or vibration.

ists to score meat color changes over time while displayed under both lighting types. Rancidity: The

researchers measured the rancidity of the meat products stored under both types of light. Light affects the oxidation of

fat in meat, which can cause rancidity and a change in taste. Operating efficien-

cy: The researchers studied operating efficiency of the two types of lights by measuring how many times a refrigeration unit had to cycle to keep the meat cool and how many running hours that cycle lasted. The researchers found that LED lights scored positively in nearly all areas. Most significantly, LED lights helped reduce operating costs and prolonged the shelf life for most of the meat products. “Most meat products displayed under LED lighting had colder internal product temperatures, which helps extend product shelf life,” Steele said. “Beef loin steaks and inside round steaks that were stored under LED lights can have up to one day longer shelf life.” Among operational costs, LED lights had fewer cycles per running hour, meaning they were a more efficient and cost-saving light source than fluorescent lights. Steele will give a research presentation titled “Shelf life of five meat products displayed under light emitting diode or fluorescent lighting” at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka in February. Steele’s research was supported by Hussmann Corp., a St. Louis-based manufacturer of merchandising equipment and refrigeration systems, and Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corp.

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KU research team awarded $5.6 million to convert biomass into chemicals

Bala Subramaniam


AWRENCE — Some of the most popular everyday products — such as plastics, packaging materials and personal care products — are derived almost entirely from petroleumbased chemicals. But that could soon change. A University of Kansasled research team has received a $5.6 million grant to develop clean technologies to convert biomass into chemicals that could ultimately replace the petroleumbased chemicals currently used in many household items. Bala Subramaniam, director of the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis at KU, today was awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop sustainable catalytic processes that would enable biorefineries to convert biomass from nonfood crops and agricultural leftovers into bio-derived chemicals. Once these technologies are developed, bio-based chemicals could become sustainable substitutes for petrochemicals in products such as laundry detergent, bathroom cleaners and beauty products. “Shoes, paint, the food packaging in your refrigerator and the refrigerator itself are all made with petroleum-

derived chemicals,” said Subramaniam, the Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “Each year, manufacturers use millions of barrels of petroleum crude to make these items. The CEBC is developing catalytic processes to convert biomass into biochemicals that can replace oil-based chemicals in these everyday products. This means sustainable bio-based

products and decreased dependency on oil. And because crude oil supplies are finite, this is the only way to produce everyday chemicals in the long term.” As part of the project, the CEBC will partner with Archer Daniels Midland Co., a global leader in biomass production and biorefining headquarSee CHEMICALS, 6E

Targeted Biomass Feedstocks Targeted biomass feedstocks include lignin, cellulose, sugars and oils derived from non-food biomass derived from crop residue and specialty energy crops such as: • Corn stover • Sorghum • Soybean stover • Switch grass • Wheat straw

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CROP GENETICS Genetic Engineering remains large part of agricultural future Whether you are involved in agriculture or not, chances are good you’ve heard the terms GMO, transgenic crops or genetic engineering, but do you know what they mean? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Technically any new crop variety or hybrid has been genetically modified but GMO has a more specific meaning. Essentially it involves the insertion or deletion of genes to produce a desired trait such as herbicide tolerance or insect control. The process is termed “genetic engineering.” When genetic material is inserted it normally comes from a different species such as in Bt corn where the genetics inserted came from a naturally occurring soil bacteria. “Transgenic crops” have been genetically engineered to possess one or more desirable traits. Initially these traits were geared mostly towards the production or input side of crops but there are increasing examples where transgenic crops are designed to benefit the consumer. Examples include healthier oil profiles, longer shelf life and nutrient/proteins in crop plants or grain. While this article discusses agricultural crops, it is important to remember GMOs are found not only in plants but animals, bacteria (microorganisms), and fish. These techniques have proved useful in gene therapy research and the production of pharmaceuticals in addition to a variety of feed and food crops. Another important factor to remember in crop genetics is that not all “new traits” are the result of genetic engineering and many of the advances coming forward in hard red winter wheat and grain sorghum, including herbicide tolerance, are the result of more conventional breeding techniques. The first GMO plants entered the marketplace in 1996 and widespread adoption quickly followed. The big two most are familiar with are Roundup Ready® soybeans and Bt corn. The Roundup Ready® trait allowed the use of the broad spectrum herbicide chemistry glyphosate to be applied post-emergence without harm to the soybean plant. Today this trait is also found in corn, alfalfa, canola, cotton, sugar beets, and wheat. However, the wheat is hard red spring wheat,

Victor L. Martin not hard red winter wheat. Over 155 million acres of glyphosate tolerant crops were planted in 2008. Bt engineered crops have included corn, cotton, and potatoes although potatoes are not currently commercially available. The genes for a chemical produced by certain soil bacteria have been inserted in these crops and the plant produces it. Insects feed on the plant tissue and it is converted into a toxin in the insect gut and it dies. Initially in corn it was aimed toward European cornborer and was found to be effective against southwestern cornborer. Today control includes rootworm and earworm. In cotton it prevents boll weevil damage. Note that the term “worm’ really refers to an insect larval stage. Over the last twenty years, continuous improvements have been made in both the Roundup Ready® and Bt technologies and in the yield components of these GMO crops. Other herbicide technologies such as Liberty Link have been introduced. Recent traits include the release of drought tolerant corn hybrids and work is ongoing in soybean, wheat and other crops. While drought tolerance is a great benefit, especially in the developing world, drought tolerant crops have survival mechanisms and the ability to more efficiently use water. Drought tolerance doesn’t mean they need NO water. There isn’t space to

cover all the GMO crops in production or on the horizon. For area crop producers, the biggest changes and new products will involve refining current traits and “stacking.” Stacking is the combining of more than one trait such as Roundup ready® and Bt in corn. Much effort is being devoted by K-State in the area of producing wheat varieties with more than one gene for leaf rust resistance. Triple-stack genetics is becoming more common and stacking four and more traits is in the near future. While GMO crops receive most of the press, many important crop genetics advances are the result of conventional breeding. These include Clearfield wheat allowing the use of Beyond herbicide to control problem grasses while protecting the crop. Traditional breeding has resulted in ALS herbicide tolerant grain sorghum which should be available to producers soon. This is an important step forward in milo weed control systems. Also down the line is the introduction of traditional crops with very specific traits for end use. All of this isn’t to imply there aren’t cautions and concerns with GMO crops. These concerns range from pest resistance and outcrossing of the desired crop traits into wild relatives to environmental concerns. However, the overall track record after almost twenty years is quite promising and the future appears bright for this technology. Dr. Victor L. Martin is an Instructor/Coordinator Agricultural Program Barton Community College

CHEMICALS, from page 5E tered in Decatur, Ill. KU and ADM will invest $1.4 million in matching funds, bringing the total project value to nearly $7 million. The CEBC/ADM project was one of only seven to be funded by USDA from a pool of approximately 300 applications. The grants were announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu during a conference call highlighting Obama Administration efforts to advance clean energy and reduce America’s dependence on imported oil. In addition to producing bio-based products, the technologies being developed by the CEBC/ ADM team could have enormous benefits for Kansas biorefineries and rural communities. While oil refineries have long been able to produce two categories of products — fuels and chemicals — co-producing commodity chemicals and fuels from biomass requires new technologies. The technologies being developed by the CEBC/ADM team would enable biorefineries to expand to chemicals, which produce about 10 times more value than fuels. The chemical portfolio in the CEBC/ADM proposal has a potential annual global value of $127 billion. “Technologies for producing bio-based chemicals have perhaps the biggest potential for driving rural economic development in Kansas,” Subramaniam said. “Biorefineries are already in Kansas because of our agricultural infrastructure and abundant biomass, and they produce mostly ethanol, biodiesel and lignin. The technologies we envision will produce high-value chemicals that will enable biorefineries to operate profitably, resulting in economic

development in Kansas, including rural Kansas.” Industry experts estimate that if biorefineries are able to mass produce biochemicals, 40,000 direct biorefinery jobs and 120,000 indirect jobs will shift to rural areas nationwide. Kansas has 15 operating biorefineries and is a top five state for biomass production. “Kansas is already a leader in biorefining and biomass production, so there’s no reason the state can’t be a leader in biochemicals once these catalytic technologies are developed,” said Julie Goonewardene, associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “The vision is to have people equate Kansas with biochemicals the same way they equate Silicon Valley with computer technology.” The challenges being addressed by the CEBC/ ADM team are akin to what the petroleum industry faced almost a century ago in its quest to produce chemicals. Back then, the collaboration of academic and industry researchers revolutionized petroleum refining and spurred economic growth. Similarly, this CEBC project envisions the development of a thriving biorefining industry in agro-based economies. In addition to spurring rural growth, the technologies being developed by

the CEBC could position uniquely trained KU students to take the lead in implementing this technology once they graduate. It could also mean business development for Lawrence, as companies explore partnerships with the CEBC. “Companies benefit by being near research universities,” Goonewardene said. “Whenever KU demonstrates this type of leadership, there’s the potential for companies to set up operations in Lawrence to be near KU technology. Dr. Subramaniam’s project is exactly the type of research that could bring companies here, especially given the proximity of the lab and office facilities managed by our local Biosciences and Technology Business Center that were opened on west campus last year. Our vision is to develop the technologies in Lawrence and commercialize them in rural Kansas.” “ADM is excited to partner with Dr. Subramaniam and the University of Kansas CEBC team on this project,” said Todd Werpy, vice president of research for ADM. “By combining our industrial acumen with CEBC’s reaction engineering expertise, we can advance the development of bio-based chemical technologies that can serve as replacements for petroleumbased chemicals.”

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Tight U.S. farmland market brings fast sales and top profits

Iowa and Minnesota Demand for quality land continues to be very strong in the North Central Region including Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, according to Sam Kain, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in Iowa

Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, Central/ Western Nebraska and Wyoming Land prices in the western region of the farm belt are up 15 to 25 percent across the board in the past six months, according to JD Maxson, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, central/western Nebraska and Wyoming. A shortage of irrigated land is pushing up demand for dry land acres. Price in this region is ranging from $5,500 to $9,500 per acre for high quality tillable acres, with location, soils and topography dictating price. “Not only is demand for top land still rising, the availability of property for sale remains limited,” said Maxson. “Buyers are looking for land with high productivity levels, which is a challenge.”



According to Maxson, a lack of investment alternatives and the volatility of the stock market are driving even more non-traditional buyers into the market. However, 75 percent of buyers in this region are still farmer owner-operators. “A year ago investors were buying more,” said Maxson. “Farmers have been much more competitive in the market today, adding land to their own personal portfolios and operations.” In addition to farmer and investor activity, inherited farmland is being sold. According to Maxson these owners are taking advantage of the current market dynamics to generate cash. Illinois, Indiana and Ohio Illinois is leading farmland sales trends in the East Central region, according to Roger Hayworth, area sales manager for Farmers Na-

tional Company in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, eastern Kentucky, and eastern Missouri. Land values, as well as sales prices, are highest in Illinois, followed by Indiana and Ohio. Prices in Illinois are bringing in $9,500 per acre on average for high quality land. Values in Indiana are up to $8,000 per acre, while those in Ohio have reached $6,500 per acre. According to Hayworth, the number of land buyers in the market continues to increase as large farm owners, combined with investors, are looking to increase land holdings. Values continue to move upward and farmers and investors are paying cash for land. “More land transactions are taking place today as compared to a year ago,” said Hayworth. “There has been a definite continued uptick in the number of listings and auctions within this area, as availability of

land has loosened a little because of more active sellers.” Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee Activity in the Mid South remains strong, as farmers are buying up land in cash transactions. Low supply and demand for quality land continues to drive prices up and is increasing sales of lower quality properties, as well. Activity is brisk, leading to fast sales. “We have seen prices increase up to 30 percent on top land in some areas with no sign of a slow-down,” said Keith Morris, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, western Kentucky, Louisiana, and southern Missouri. “Product is getting harder to find, driving some buyers to look at poorer quality farms, with plans of upgrading them.”

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Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle The land market across the Kansas and Texas Panhandle farm belt continues to be strong for all classes of land. Values and activity are up over 2010. “Even areas of the plains that were hit by extreme drought in 2011 are seeing strong price increases,” said Monty Meusch, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Strong activity over the past three years is shrinking availability of property based on the sheer number of transactions that have taken place. “A record level of farms and ranches has changed hands in recent years,” said Meusch. “This is leading to a reduction of properties being offered. Demand is robust for any quality land that makes it into the marketplace.” Investors are still in the game, but the bulk of purchases are going to growing farm operations within 20 miles of an available property. Sales prices in Kansas of top quality cropland are selling for up to $4,500 per acre depending on location, while prices for irrigated cropland with good water in the Texas Panhandle have reached $3,000 per acre.

and Minnesota. Auction numbers in this region are up over 2010, leading to top sales prices for sellers. “Farmers National Company has had over 130 land auctions during 2011 in my area,” said Kain. “Iowa values are up 32 percent from a year ago. An Iowa State University survey shows we are at an all-time high level here.” In Iowa, top quality land is selling at over $9,500 per acre, with Minnesota values bringing in $7,500 plus per acre. The combination of high commodity prices and low interest rates has provided farmers with surplus cash. These profits are being used to purchase additional land and expand operations. “The bulk of buyers in our area are the farmers,” said Kain. “While land is still a good investment for investors, farmers have been very aggressive in picking up additional acres to increase profits.”






land values. Good weather world-wide could result in a crop surplus, dropping prices. In addition, inflation would boost interest rates, negatively affecting land values.”



he U.S. farmland market continues to be hot, with values reaching a two-year high, according to Farmers National Company, the nation’s leading agricultural services company. Availability of quality land is tight, bringing fast sales and top dollar for properties. “What surprises us is the rate of increase over the last 12 months,” said Lee Vermeer, AFM, vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National Company. “Values are up 20 to 25 percent, compared to rises of five to 10 percent in 2010. We are looking for 2012 to be another profitable year for those selling land.” Farmers National Company has seen record auction activity during the last six months as more properties are being sold at auction to maximize profits. Tight supply of quality land has also prompted buyers to look at less productive land that can be upgraded, according to Vermeer. Strong grain prices are boosting profits for farmers, prompting them to pursue land in order to expand operations. In addition, cash rents in top production areas have increased 25 to 40 percent during 2011. “Farmers make up 75 percent of the buyers in the market, despite continued strong interest from investors,” said Vermeer. “Land continues to be a tangible investment that has performed well, thus the demand.” While Farmers National Company projects brisk activity to continue, there are market factors that could impact the future of farm values. “Overall the upcoming year looks positive,” said Vermeer. “However, poor performance in the commodity market over the next year could bring downward pressure on


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SETTING FARM POLICY Details of the Farm Bill explained by agricultural specialists Editor’s note: The following article from the Congressional Research Service explains the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, aka the “2008 farm bill.” Congress drafts a new farm bill about every five years and the 2008 act expires this year.

Question marks punctuate Farm Bill debate BY DALE HOGG


BY RENÉE JOHNSON AND JIM MONKE Specialists in Agricultural Policy


variety of federal laws—permanent and expiring— govern an array of agricultural and food programs. Although many of these policies can be and sometimes are modified through freestanding authorizing legislation or as part of other laws, the omnibus, multi-year farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policy makers to address agricultural and food issues more comprehensively. The “farm bill” is renewed about every five years. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, aka the “2008 farm bill,” is the most recent omnibus farm bill. It was enacted into law on June 18, 2008, and succeeded the 2002 farm bill. The farm bill governs federal farm and food policy, covering a wide range of programs and provisions, and, as noted above, undergoes review and renewal roughly every five years. The 2008 farm bill contains 15 titles encompassing commodity price and income supports, farm credit, trade, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, energy, and foreign and domestic food programs such as food stamps and other nutrition programs, among other programs. The omnibus nature of the bill can create broad coalitions of support among sometimes conflicting interests for policies that individually might not survive the legislative process. This breadth also can stir fierce competition for available funds, particularly among


The status of the 2012 Farm Bill starts with hearings Feb. 15 before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The Democratic dominated Senate is the first house to act on the measure. It is unknown how much money will be available to spend on the 2012 Farm Bill.

producers of different commodities, or between those who have differing priorities for farm subsidies, conservation, nutrition, or other programs. Many in Congress have historically defended farm support programs as a means to ensure that the United States has continued access to the most abundant, safest, and most affordable food supplies in the world. However, there are long-standing criticisms of farm support programs. Some question the overall effectiveness of farm programs and the cost to taxpayers and consumers. Others question whether continued farm support is even necessary, given that many of these programs were established many decades ago and are considered by some to be no longer compatible with current national economic objectives, global trading rules, and federal budgetary or regulatory policies. The breadth of farm bills has steadily expanded in recent decades to include new and expanding agricultural interests.

For example, conservation and bioenergy once were not part of the farm bill, but now are central elements of agricultural policy. Also, the 2008 farm bill included two new bill titles with horticulture and livestock provisions. The 2008 debate also differed from previous farm bills in terms of the number and scope of proposals seeking changes to existing legislation, some of which gained support within and outside Congress. These included proposals from state organizations, national farm groups, commodity associations, conservation, recreational and rural development organizations, faith-based groups, and several other nontraditional interest groups. What is the cost? The 2008 bill came with a price tag of about $57 billion per year, or $284 billion over five years. When the 2008 farm bill was enacted, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the total cost of the farm bill at $284

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billion over five years (FY2008-FY2012) and $604 billion over ten years (FY2008-FY2017), including existing programs and changes enacted. These costs reflect mandatory outlays that do not require appropriations actions. The overwhelming share (97 percent) of estimated total net outlays for programs in the 2008 farm bill was anticipated to be spent on four titles: nutrition (67 percent), farm commodity support (15 percent), conservation (9 percent), and crop insurance (8 percent). Of the $284 billion in projected total five-year net outlays for programs under the farm bill—including revenue and cost-offset provisions in the bill—about $189 billion was expected to support the cost of food stamps and certain other nutrition assistance programs, $42 billion was expected to support commodity crops, $24 billion was expected to support mandatory conservation programs, and $22 billion was expected to support crop insurance. For FY2008-FY2012, the 2008

farm bill also included nearly $4 billion in new spending for supplemental farm disaster assistance (included under Title XV). Another $10 billion was expected to be spent on trade, horticulture and livestock production, rural development, research, forestry, and energy, among other programs. Similar to the conditions during debate on the 2008 farm bill, the upcoming farm bill debate is likely to be driven in part by relatively large budget deficits and growing demands for fiscal constraint. In fact, the budget situation may be more difficult than in past farm bills because of growing federal budget deficits and new pay-as-you-go budget rules enacted in 2010. This is very different than budget conditions

hen asked about the upcoming debate over the 2012 Farm Bill, Terry Holdren, general counsel for Kansas Farm Bureau, said the outcome is anyone’s guess. “It is up in the air,” he said. “We just don’t know what is going to happen with it.” Its predecessor, the The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, known as the 2008 Farm Bill, expires this year. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry started hearings on the bill Wednesday, Feb. 15., and the Democratdominated Senate is the first house to act on the measure. “We’re watching that closely,” Holdren said. The goal is to have a bill produced before lawmakers leave for their Memorial Day recess at the end of May. “But, I think that is optimistic.” The hang-up, Holdren said, is not the partisan rancor that has muddled legislation of late. Instead, there are too many question marks. “The biggest unknown is how much money there will be to spend on the Farm Bill,” he said. The Congressional Budget Office will release its latest numbers in March, and at that time, work can begin in earnest. “Anything that spends money may See QUESTIONS, 9E

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that existed for the 2002 farm bill, which was written during a brief period of budget surplus at the turn of the millennium. The budget resolution that funded the 2002 farm bill allowed the Agriculture Committees to spend $73 billion more than the baseline over the 10-year budget window. In contrast, the 2008 farm bill was basically budget-neutral. The procedural difficulties of reaching budget and policy compromises with multiple committees of jurisdiction (particularly the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees) prolonged the development of the farm bill. Given such difficulties in 2007 and 2008, many hope to keep the finances of the 2012 farm bill within the jurisdiction of the Committee of Agriculture. Even a “simple” extension of the 2008 farm bill may be difficult. While some programs (like most of the farm subsidies and nutrition assistance) have assumed future funding in the baseline, others (mostly newer programs) do not. Specifically, 37 programs across 12 titles of the 2008 farm bill do not have funding beyond 2012 and could cost about $10 billion (over five years) to renew. This is about 10 percent of the $100 billion five-year cost of the 2008 farm bill if the nutrition title is excluded. For more details on this subset of programs. At the same time, broad deficit reduction proposals are specifically targeting agricultural subsidies. The President’s fiscal commission, as well as the Bipartisan Debt Reduction Task Force and the current and past Administrations, each have submitted detailed proposals to reduce farm support. These proposals are opposed by many farm sector advocates, who support the status quo. For additional background information.

have a difficult time passing” in the current politically charged environment. The 2008 Farm Bill cost more than $280 billion over its five-year lifespan. However, there are parts of a Farm Bill that appease rural lawmakers (farm programs) and urban lawmakers (nutrition programs). And, since ag committees are bipartisan, there isn’t usually a problem getting the legislation through. Even so, he said, there are a lot of budget cutting measures at play, including the $1.5 trillion over a mandated after the failure of the Super Committee last fall. Once the numbers are known, “crop insurance has to be the focus,” Holdren said of the key Farm Bill priority. The current direct payments given to farmers in the event of losses are unsustainable. “So, what can you create as the next safety net for producers,” he said. There are two schools of thought. One supports an insurance system that covers catastrophic payments in the event of a massive crop disaster (such as the on-going drought) which would be paid less frequently. The other backs a plan that would cover shallow losses, smaller amounts paid more often. “That’s the big question dividing the industry,” Holdren said. Whatever comes out of the debate needs to be more accessible and more efficient. Changes in conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, which provide federal costshare money to cover the cost of conservation efforts. “These are very popular,” he said. The president has proposed cuts, however, and there may be changes that better target them land that is highly sensitive. Senator Pat Roberts sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee and offered his thoughts on the expected fight over the 2012 Farm Bill. “(Senate Agriculture Committee) Chairwoman (Debbie) Stabenow (D-Mich.) and I agree that it is best for the Committee to try to move a Farm Bill this year,” Roberts said. The first hearing of the year was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15, which focused on Rural Development and Energy programs at USDA. “I know many folks support these titles and during these budget times, it’s important for the Committee to conduct proper oversight to find out if programs overlap or if the objectives of these programs can be achieved in a more cost effective manner,” Roberts said. “These hearings are an important first step in the process of passing a bill in an open and transparent manner.” Stabenow has not laid out a specific time line for when the committee will move but Roberts is hopeful they can do so soon, and with bipartisan support that provides ample time for the Majority Leader to bring the bill to the Senate floor. “It’s no secret I had some concerns with parts of the Secret Farm Bill proposal to the Super Committee,” he said. “But I also agreed with much of what was included. However, that’s all in the past.” Roberts said they are now in a new situation – a situation where instead of two or four members negotiating a Farm Bill, they will have 21 members of the Senate Agriculture Committee engaged in the process. “We need to hear their voices, vote on their amend-

What Are the Other Policy Challenges? Commodity price and income support policies are usually a contentious components of a farm bill. Proponents of the current approach to the farm commodity programs want a stronger safety net. Opponents of the status quo often cite cost and budget concerns, and point to other competing policy priorities, including equity concerns across the farm sector, supporting small farms, trade commitments, specialty crops, nutrition, conservation, or rural development. The general economic state of the farm sector often plays a role in the outcome of the farm bill debate. Currently, net farm income is relatively favorable; however, income levels can vary significantly from year to year. Overall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that net farm income was $81.6 billion in 2010, up 31 percent from 2009 and 26 percent above the 10-year averSee BILL, 11E

ments and work together on a product that hopefully the entire committee can accept. “My priorities for the Farm Bill: Whether it be our field hearings in Michigan or Kansas, or meetings I’ve had while traveling the state or in D.C., the number one issue ... the number one priority I’ve heard from our producers is to protect and enhance the crop insurance program.” The senator said producers face a multitude of risks, from Mother Nature to input costs to global production and price swings. Crop Insurance programs help producers manage their own risk as they see best. “Furthermore, since producers pay a share of the premium for the coverage, it is also the best investment from the taxpayer point of view,” he said. “With that in mind, protecting and enhancing a producer’s ability to manage their own risk is my top priority.” Roberts said they have a couple of ideas for areas of improvement on Crop Insurance. “I won’t go into specifics today but can tell you the goal is to improve opportunities for those who currently aren’t maximizing the program.” Lawmakers need to look at ways to address declining yields for those who have been through several years of drought. “We have many producers who insure their crops at the individual level but are still susceptible to risks area wide. We want to look for opportunities for producers to supplement their coverage levels.” There are a few more ideas they are working on to achieve the ultimate goal of building a suite of crop insurance programs that are attractive to producers and responsible to taxpayers that help ensure our farmers and ranchers continue to provide the safest, most effective food supply in the world. As for budget cuts, “I’m not the best at predicting the future but a 23 billion dollar cut is what the four principals agreed upon during the Joint Deficit Committee process,” Roberts said. “Until the Budget Committee gives us more direction, I think we’ll proceed toward a product that achieves that level of deficit reduction,” he said. “What we do not know is how agriculture will be treated under sequestration. Neither CBO nor (Office of Budget Management) have given us much direction on that front.” As a congressman, Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, served for years on the House Agriculture Committee. Even though as a senator, he is not on a ag-related committee, he can offer some keen insight into the ongoing debate for the new Farm Bill. “Given the political climate in Washington, D.C., it is difficult to imagine Congress and the Administration coming together before November to develop and pass a farm bill,” Moran said. “For the foreseeable future, the best option is an extension of the current farm bill. Regardless, the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will continue to solicit feedback and take a closer look at each program within the farm bill. “Farmers in Kansas have made clear that crop insurance is the most important tool necessary to them in a state like ours, where the weather is not always a friend,” Moran continued. “I will continue to work to make certain this important risk management tool remains viable and is supported in the next farm bill. Farmers and ranchers are important to our economy and the Kansas way of life. I will be fully engaged to make certain Kansas priorities are included in the next farm bill.”

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ANHATTAN – A gift from a major gain milling association has established a new faculty chair at Kansas State University. The North American Millers’ Association, or NAMA, has made a commitment of $300,000 to the university’s department of grain science and industry to establish the NAMA Instructor of Milling Award. Fran Churchill, a K-State alumna with more than 20 years of milling industry experience, has been hired for the position and joined the university Jan. 3.

According to Dirk Maier, head of the department of grain science and industry department, the association’s gift is a significant highlight of the organization’s 100-yearlong partnership with Kansas State University that has resulted in many

important achievements, including the construction of the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the endowed NAMA Milling Scholarship. “We are very excited about Fran Churchill joining our faculty as the NAMA instructor

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of milling science and management,” Maier said. “NAMA’s funding of this faculty position reflects the priority its member companies place on enhancing the future work force by recruiting, educating and preparing the next generation of milling

industry professionals.” Mary Waters, president of the North American Millers’ Association, said that Kansas State University’s milling science management program is the only university program in the U.S. that provides education and training for the next generation of mill managers and technology specialists, and the award at KState is an investment in the human capital important to the industry. “The milling science program at K-State is important to our industry because many of our member companies hire its graduates for

their mills,” Waters said. “By funding this faculty award, we can ensure we have experienced industry alumni helping educate future millers who have the knowledge and education our members need for operating their mills.” Philanthropic contributions to the university are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.

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BILL, from page 9E 2009 and 26 percent above the 10-year average (Figure 1). Volatility is high from often unpredictable market prices and input costs. Some look at the high level of income and say agriculture does not need as much support. Others look at the same data and see a need for a safety net because of the volatility. Government payments,

including commodities and conservation, have been comparatively steady (around $12 billion per year) since 2007, reflecting the fixed nature of direct payments and conservation programs. Since then, the payments in the commodity programs may be characterized more as income support rather than risk management, since nearly the same amount is paid

annually regardless of variability in income. This is because market prices are above government price support triggers, and some subsidy programs are not being used or needed. Farmers’ debt position during the global financial crisis also has remained fairly strong, with relatively low debt compared to high asset prices. The farm sector’s ratio of debt compared to

assets is near a record low level. Commodity Policy Reform and Equity Considerations The traditional approach to agricultural policy has been to focus on the farm commodity programs and variations of the long-standing farm safety net. The 2008 farm bill added revenue based support to the commodity programs. In the

past, counter-cyclical support was tied only to prices, but some farmers wanted payments to respond to low-yield situations even when market prices are high. The new program, called the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE), has been criticized as highly complex and not responsive enough to local See BILL, 12E

FARM BILL TITLES AND POLICIES Below are the titles of the 2008 farm bill and brief descriptions of some provisions in each title. The 2008 Farm Bill: Titles and Selected Programs and Policies Title I, Commodities: Income support to growers of selected commodities, including wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, oilseeds, peanuts, sugar, and dairy. Support is largely through direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and marketing loans. Other support mechanisms include government purchases for dairy, and marketing quotas and import barriers for sugar. Title II, Conservation: Environmental stewardship of farmlands and improved management practices through land retirement and working lands programs, among other programs geared to farmland conservation, preservation, and resource protection. Title III, Agricultural Trade and Food Aid: U.S. agricultural export and international food assistance programs,

and program changes related to various World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. Title IV, Nutrition: Domestic food and nutrition and commodity distribution programs, such as food stamps and other supplemental nutrition assistance. Title V, Farm Credit: Federal direct and guaranteed farm loan programs, loan eligibility and policies. Title VI, Rural Development: Business and community programs for planning, feasibility assessments, and coordination activities with other local, state, and federal programs, including rural broadband access. Title VII, Research: Agricultural research and extension programs, including biosecurity and response, biotechnology, and organic production. Title VIII, Forestry: USDA Forest Service programs, including forestry management, enhancement, and agroforestry programs. Title IX, Energy: Bioenergy pro-

• • • •

grams and grants for procurement of biobased products to support development of biorefineries and assist eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in purchasing renewable energy systems, as well as user education programs. Title X, Horticulture and Organic Agriculture: A new farm bill title covering fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops and organic agriculture. Title XI, Livestock: A new farm bill title covering livestock and poultry production, including provisions that amend existing laws governing livestock and poultry marketing and competition, country-of-origin labeling requirements for retailers, and meat and poultry state inspections, among other provisions. Title XII, Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance: A new farm bill title covering the federal crop insurance and disaster assistance previously included in the miscellaneous title (not

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including the supplemental disaster assistance provisions in the Trade and Tax title). Title XIII, Commodity Futures: A new farm bill title covering reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and other changes to current law. Title XIV, Miscellaneous: Other types of programs and assistance not covered in other bill titles, including provisions to assist limited-resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, and agricultural security, among others. Title XV, Trade and Tax Provisions: A new title covering tax-related provisions intended to offset spending initiatives for some programs, including those in the nutrition, conservation, and energy titles. The title also contains other provisions, including the new supplemental disaster assistance and disaster relief trust fund, and other tax-related provisions such as customs user fees.

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BILL, from page 11E conditions or some commodities. Participation has been lower than expected. Will the next farm bill continue the program or revise it to make it more attractive? Some would rather shift support dollars to better revenuebased crop insurance programs. Others prefer the status quo. The 2008 farm bill also added a “permanent” disaster assistance program (Supplemental Revenue Assistance, SURE)—a pool of money for disasters without needing supplemental appropriations. This program also has met with mixed reviews, and continuation likely will be debated on policy and budget grounds. Calls from some groups to reform current farm policies are often based on arguments for the need for greater equitable distribution of support within the farming sectors. Farm program critics point out that farm bill dollars are not equitably shared across the sector. Subsidies flow to a limited number of staple commodities—mainly grains, oilseeds, cotton, milk, and sugar—and not to fruits, vegetables, or livestock. Also, subsidies are proportional to production, allowing larger farms to receive more than smaller ones. Critics want to address these imbalances. One option could be to further tighten annual payment limits. Another option would be to use the available funding to better promote production of other farm commodities and domestic food systems. This might include increased fruits and vegetables for a range of domestic food programs, such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and other programs. Other options might be to target support to a wider range of agricultural producers, such as smaller-sized farms, organic producers, local food systems, directto-market producers, and sustainable farming operations. Defenders of the status quo counter that U.S. farm policy is designed to ensure domestic productivity, global competitiveness, and food security—regardless of farm size—and

that efficiency should not be penalized by reducing support to successful large operations. Rural development is invoked by some who seek a more equitable distribution of support. Critics of past farm bills say that rural development policy remains unfocused and under-funded. They argue that the farm bill’s emphasis on commodity programs ignores the fact that most farmers earn a majority of their incomes from nonfarm sources, that farm subsidies may go to landlords in non-rural areas, and that most rural residents are no longer farmers. Rural development supporters call for shifting resources into programs that expand the nonfarm economic base and support new sources of competitive advantage in rural areas. Proponents of the commodity programs argue that farm payments are a primary contributor to rural economic activity. Alternatively, conservation and bioenergy are raised by others seeking equity for environmental sustainability. Farm bill conservation policies usually have focused on reducing soil erosion and protecting water quality and quantity through land retirement and working lands policies. In recent years, conservation policy has shifted to reducing the off-farm impacts of agricultural activities. Finding a balance between regulatory and voluntary policy options to address environmental issues from agriculture will continue to shape the debate. Bioenergy has become increasingly important to agriculture and rural communities. One-third of U.S. corn production is converted into ethanol, up from 7 percent a decade ago. Many want the farm bill to offer incentives for farm-based energy production. However, some caution that ethanol has relied heavily on federal incentives (such as tax credits and tariffs), and that its competitiveness hinges on relatively high oil prices and/or antici-

pated technologies (cellulosic ethanol). Some also have expressed concern that expanded use of bioenergy is unlikely to reduce the nation’s dependence on petroleum imports. Biofuels policies may also have unintended consequences in other areas of agricultural policy. The high demand for biofuels feedstocks (e.g., corn) may adversely impact other areas such as the price of food and animal feed, and conservation practices that retain plant material on erodible land. Such challenges to the current U.S. farm policy were voiced during the 2008 farm bill debate, as several nontraditional agriculture groups provided recommendations on policy changes to Congress. The policy recommendations of these diverse interests ranged from maintaining current programs to substantially altering or eliminating them. Some of these proposals were incorporated into legislation introduced by Members who sought to challenge the existing farm legislation through comprehensive and broad-based legislative changes. Others in Congress were reluctant to change existing programs that are strongly supported by longtime beneficiaries. Similar tensions are likely to continue to influence and shape the next farm bill debate. International Trade Agreements The farm bill debate has also been in-

fluenced by obligations concerning the design and size of farm subsidies under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture, as well as by the U.S. position in the Doha Round of multilateral negotiations. The United States is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers and exporters, and U.S. farm policy is thus constantly evaluated against WTO rules. The importance of U.S. WTO commitments is highlighted by the so-called “Brazil cotton case,” in which a WTO dispute settlement panel ruled against the U.S. cotton program. The United States is expected to bring its programs into WTO compliance or be subject to WTO-sanctioned retaliation. Thus, a key question for policy makers is how new farm programs will affect U.S. trade commitments. Similar considerations were voiced during the 2008 farm bill debate, given concerns about whether U.S. farm policies were compatible with negotiations as part of the Doha Round of international negotiations. Although progress in the Doha Round has long been stalled, criticisms and legal challenges by some WTO member countries of current U.S. farm programs have continued. Many U.S. trading partners have also publicly stated that any proposed changes to U.S. domestic support programs should also meet broader objectives for farm trade policy reform.

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Scammers seek victims through phone, postal and e-mail BY STEPHANIE YOUNG Special to the Tribune

Helpful numbers and websites:


eff Wagaman hears about scams of all kinds as part of his job as spokesman for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. But one day it hit close to home. “My mother received one of these calls. Someone called posing as her grandson. They said he’d been arrested and needed bail money. It just scared her to death,” Wagaman said. “Thankfully, she called me. We put in a call to my sister and determined he was asleep in bed.” The “grandparent’s scam” is a recent favorite of scammers, Wagaman said. They use Facebook or other social media to get details about someone’s grandchild – in his mother’s case they learned her grandson was on a senior trip and knew the location – then they call the grandparent and concoct a story of an injury, arrest or other problem requiring the immediate wiring of money. “It’s very popular right now,” Wagaman said. “With technology, it is an additional opportunity for scammers.” The scam also reached someone in Great Bend, said Police Det. Denton Doze. “The scam is your relative is needing money and is in dire straits,” he said. “This woman ended up sending money to her grandson in Kansas City and he wasn’t even there.” Doze said most people don’t send the money, but instead call the police department first. “You need to verify what people are telling you before you send money,” he said. “If you think it’s a scam, it probably is.” Another scam making the rounds, Wagaman said, is the “foreign lottery scam.” The scammer says the person has won money in a foreign lottery and there is a processing fee due to get the money or bank account information needed to deposit it. “There was a spike a month ago. We got dozens of calls from across the state,” he said. Roberta Namee of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas, based in Wichita, also warned of the lottery scam. “We do get a lot of calls on it,” Namee said. “It comes either by phone call or e-mail.” Namee suggested — as did Doze and Wagaman — to stop in the middle of any such call and contact one of their agencies. “If it’s really meant to be, it will still be


Scams can come in any form, including e-mail, postal and telephone.


Phone calls are the main medium for two recently popular scams – the foreign lottery and grandparent scams.

there after you’ve checked it out,” Namee said. “We’ll get you an answer or point you in the right direction.” Bob Hanson, director of communications for the Kansas Insurance Department, which handles scams related to health, auto, homeowners or other insurance, used a mantra each of the other experts also used. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “If there are any kind of warning bells, give us a call.” The commission’s anti-fraud division encourages a three-step method to avoid

being scammed: Stop (the transaction), Call (an agency that can determine the claim’s legitimacy), Confirm (that the company or claim is real or not). Other scams reported recently include a variety related to Medicare, winning a sweepstakes of some kind or a prize, and mortgage modification. Wagaman said Kansans’ good nature makes them a prime target. “Kansans are good-hearted people,” he said. “They are quick to help out or give. We just encourage folks to do a little research first.”

• Kansas Attorney General’s hotline – 800-432-2310; online complaint form – contact-us/file-a-complaint • Better Business Bureau of Kansas – 800-856-2417 • Kansas Insurance Dept. Consumer hotline – 800-432-2484; online complaint form – https:// • Great Bend Police Department – 620-793-4120 • Barton County Sheriff ’s Office – 620-793-1876 From the KSAG’s website: • To opt out of credit and insurance prescreened offers for five years or permanently, call 1-888567-8688 or visit • To receive less national advertising mail, register for Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service and Electronic Mail Preference Service by visiting or sending a letter requesting your name and e-mail removal to: MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512. • To register for the telemarketing no-call list: Call 1-888-3821222 or visit The following tips are from the Kansas Attorney General’s website: Protect Yourself from Scams • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of offers for free products, claims you won a contest you did not enter, or get-rich quick schemes. • Take the time to investigate claims. If you think what a stranger is telling you might be true, investigate before giving them personal or financial information. Be sure to verify their phone number yourself through the phone book or Internet search. Don’t simply call the number the stranger gives you. See SITES, 3

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Farm income, health care spark economic forecast BY JIM MISUNAS


arm income from 2011 helped stabilize a Kansas economy that maintained its level, according to a Wichita State economic development expert. “Overall farm income was up. Farmers and farm income have been the stabilizing force for our economy,” said Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University. “Although manufacturing struggled the first part of 2011, recent growth in employment is expected to carry through into 2012, leading the state economy out of our recession.” Hill said drought conditions in Texas and Oklahoma helped Kansas agriculture fare well in 2011. Farmers received good prices for their harvest last year. Some farmers were able to sell their crops to areas with severe drought. “Farm income was up because all sectors were up. Exports of farm equipment was higher and sales of pesticides, herbicides was higher because demand went up,” Hill said. Aspects of agriculture will continue to fuel incremental Kansas economic growth in 2012, according to analysis by Wichita State’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research. Hill says the strongest employment growth in Kansas should come from the durable sector. “We expect the strongest increase in employment growth to come from the durable sector, which includes farm equipment and aviation manufacturing, at about 2.8 percent in 2012,” Hill said. Analysis indicates Kansas has stepped out of a flat economic period into an estimated 1 percent


Texas farmers talk about the effects of the drought and lack of water on the rice farming industry Wednesday, Feb. 8, at a farm in Lissie, Texas.

economic growth for 2012. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Carl Parker, Fort Hays State University chair for the economics, finance and accounting departments. “There will be continuing concern about the economy. But it seems like the economy in our area has been fairly stable.” Parker wants the Legislature to continue to provide and increase support for Kansas agriculture. “It’s always important for the Legislature to recognize the significance of agriculture in Kansas,” he said. One of Barton County’s growing age groups is the 50 to 60 group that will continue to require health-care services. Other growth is anticipated with temporary job agencies.

“With an aging ‘baby boomer,’ population, health-care services and employment will continue to be strong,” Hill said. “Temp agencies will continue to fare well. They are mobile and can adjust quickly. Some people will move from full-time to temp employment and work as contract employees. Stateside, what we have seen has created wealth and expanded the economy. The Kansas economy has some definite strengths and will likely create about 13,000 jobs in 2012.” Hill said Boeing’s recent announcement of moving jobs from Wichita dropped his overall statewide growth from 1.1 percent to 1 percent for 2012. “This is due to the weakness within the Euro

zone, remaining uncertainty of the U.S. economy and the Boeing departure,” Hill said. “Earlier in the year, we were looking at a higher number, but Boeing’s announcement wiped some of that out.” Tom Johansen, professor of finance at Fort Hays State, said Kansas is fortunate to not rely too heavily on one sector of the economy. Kansas missed much of the housing and banking crisis that affected other states. “Generally speaking, Kansas has a local economy that goes slower than the national economy, both coming into a recession or coming out,” he said. “Our unemployment rate has historically been lower than the national average.”

On the energy side, Hill has seen tangible signs that exploration for natural gas and oil is rising. He said research is being conducted to get a firm count on actual oil extraction permits. “The energy side is a great asset for Kansas and shows some potential growth,” Hill said. “It’s always hard to determine how many of those oil extraction permits go into full-blast production.” Parker said the oil and gas exploration is a tangible sign for economic optimism. Johansen believes an optimistic person could see a glimmer of hope in the economic numbers. “Commodity prices have been good and we’re seeing much more oil

exploration in areas of the state,” he said. Even though construction permits nationally are down, Hill said values for new construction is higher, another good sign that the recession is behind the U.S. The finance banking sector may be flat because of regulations authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a United States federal law that places regulation of the financial industry in the hands of the government. The legislation, enacted in July 2010, aims to prevent another significant financial crisis by creating new financial regulatory processes that enforce transparency and accountability while implementing rules for consumer protection. Hill said the U.S. economy is showing similar signs of incremental growth. “The U.S. economy is seeing signs of improving economic conditions,” he said. “The private sector jobs have led the recent employment growth, and in December the U.S. jobs claims were widespread. U.S. consumers are more upbeat about their future. In the last couple of months, they’ve felt that their future earnings and the economy would be better in the coming months. However, in this recent report of the U.S. consumers, they now believe that the economy today is much better.” Hill says that nationally, gross domestic product is expected to grow 3 percent in fourth quarter 2011 and 2.6 percent in 2012. Year-over-year average annual employment grew 1 percent in November 2011, and modest gains are expected in 2012.

SITES, from page 2 • Pay for expensive services,

products, or vacation deals with a credit card so fraudulent charges can be disputed. • Do not wire money to anyone unless you are absolutely sure it is someone you know and trust. Once wire funds are picked up, there is little law enforcement can do. • When selling something, beware of anyone who wants to overpay and asks you to reimburse the difference. Even if a check has been cleared for your use, it may still be identified as counterfeit and you could lose funds you have spent from it. • Don’t send a check, cash, or money order or give out your account information to anyone insisting on immediate payment. • Guard credit card information, Social Security number, and checking account information as you do the keys to your house. They are the keys to your bank accounts and

your identity. Don’t put this information on driver’s licenses, checks, or give it out to strangers who ask for it over the phone or at the door. • Never place bank statements, credit card information or any such sensitive financial or personal information in the trash without first shredding or otherwise defacing all account numbers. Do not leave mail in mailbox overnight or on weekends. • Avoid fake and forged check scams. Be suspicious of any check you receive from an unknown or unexpected source. • Don’t let anyone rush you into making a decision. Take your time to ask questions and gather information about the product, contest, company, or charity and ask for written information to be sent to you. Scam artists typically will not take the time to provide this. Fraud experts’ mantra: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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IN THE LONG HAUL Design and marketing efforts help Jewell Trucking Company expand


ANHATTAN – A Jewell trucking company is on the road to success with the help of Kansas State University’s Advanced Manufacturing Institute. Father and son business partners LeRoy and Eric Bourbon used the Advanced Manufacturing Institute’s design and marketing expertise to improve the efficiency of their existing business, Bourbon Trucking, and to develop their new business, Bourbon Trailers. Currently Bourbon Trucking and Trailers specializes in transporting bulk commod-

ity goods and a wide range of equipment and materials, as well as offering a full service repair division and a new pup trailer manufacturing company. Bourbon Pup Trailers maximize the amount of material that can be transported in a single trip, which increases profits. The more compact size of the pup trailers, when compared to traditional super cube or straight trailers, enhances maneuverability and decreases wear and tear on roadways because the wheels do not slide when turning corners. Bourbon Pups also offer con-

Leadership for extraordinary times Great Bend Seminar to look at youth recruitment, retention in western Kansas


elping our best students find rewarding careers and home life in rural Kansas will be the focus of the 16th annual Kansas State University Leadership Seminar, “Leading in Extraordinary Times,” Thursday, March 15, at Barton Community College in Great Bend. The event will include a mix of videostreamed presentations from K-State in Manhattan and panel discussion and small group planning in Great Bend. The seminar will be from 8:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in Room F-30 of the Fine Arts Building at Barton. “Leading in Extraordinary Times” will provide examples of innovative strategies that rural western Kansas communities are using to attract and retain young people. The seminar’s keynote speaker will be Magistrate Judge Tommy Webb of Kansas, who will present “You Can Make A Difference” via videostreaming from Manhattan. Webb’s discussion will set the stage for the focus discussion in Great Bend on rural youth retention and recruitment. Panelists will include Carolyn Dunn, Stafford County Economic Development; Jeff Hofaker, Phillips County Economic Development and president of the western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance; Mary Jo Taylor, superintendent of USD 349 in Stafford County; Natalie Clark, SEED Center Entrepreneurial Charter School; Elaine Johannes, K-State associate professor and extension specialist in youth development; and Leon Atwell, Kansas Entrepreneurial Communities Initiative. Atwell also will facilitate a lunch discussion to generate ideas for possible community action. Early registration is $50 per person when completed by March 1; and $75 after that date. Online registration, a schedule of seminar activities, seminar brochure, speaker bios and more are available at Additional information also is available by contacting Ron Wilson, chair of the Leadership Seminar Committee, at 785-532-7690 or, or Jennifer Pfortmiller, Great Bend seminar coordinator, at 620-786-1188 or

figuration flexibility, air-ride suspension and in-field weight estimates. “Bourbon has done an excellent job of identifying a niche opportunity in the trucking market,” said Bret Lanz, marketing and development manager at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. “The company is continuing to grow this opportunity by vertically expanding into the manufacturing of the trailers.” The Advanced Manufacturing Institute offered a variety of services to enhance the new trailer manufacturing company, including creating


roviding reliable electricity at the most affordable cost has been a challenge since 1935 when the Roosevelt Administration focused on electrifying rural America by implementing the Rural Electric Administration (REA), the outgrowth of which were electric cooperatives. Though much has changed in 77 years, much remains the same. There continues to be a growing demand for electricity, and this is certainly true of the Sunflower system. While technology has improved, our nation’s reliance on electricity has increased substantially. In fact, a 2010 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that by 2035, the projected electricity demand in the U.S. will grow by 30 percent. This underscores the key role that electric service plays in making our lives more convenient, our homes more comfortable and our businesses more productive. But the future will not be without its challenges. One formidable challenge in the electric industry has always been the ability to project and meet customer demand; overestimating imposes unnecessary costs on the customer and underestimating can create reliability problems. The lengthy time frame to obtain the permits necessary to construct almost anything necessitates planning future transmission and generation resources many years in advance. With so many moving parts—fuel prices, lengthy construction time, variable costs, environmental requirements, permitting procedures—having infrastructure in place to reliably meet demand is

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ers. “As our company grows, we hope to expand our line of trailers and continue our partnership.” For more information about Bourbon Trucking and Trailers visit The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a part of the Kansas State University College of Engineering, a Kansas Department of Commerce Center of Excellence and an Economic Development Administration University Center that provides engineering and business services. More information about the institute is available online at

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computer-aided design models and production drawings of the trailers and using finite element analysis to validate the optimal hopper design. In addition, the institute helped create marketing materials, developed pricing models, identified potential dealers and built a company website that Bourbon employees can edit and maintain. “We’ve been really happy with how AMI has helped us out and we look forward to working with them in the future,” said LeRoy Bourbon, founder and co-owner of Bourbon Trucking and Trail-

Call today 620-792-2411

Stuart Lowry extremely challenging. In 2012, meeting that challenge will include upgrading transmission lines, costing approximately $30 million, to accommodate not only increased demand for electricity but also the interconnection of wind energy to our system. It will also include acquiring additional generation resources both by means of construction and by market purchases. Moreover, all of this will happen as we continue to navigate the very uncertain regulatory climate, which, more than ever, is in a state of flux. As we move forward in 2012 and beyond, what won’t change is our commitment to our

cooperative principles. This year has been named the International Year of the Cooperative, celebrating a business model based not on profit but on shared principles and the commitment to building a better world through teamwork. Sunflower’s members serve more than 400,000 Kansans, all of whom can be confident that our goal is to protect the way of life that they value by continuing to generate affordable, reliable power for central and western Kansas. During the last year, Sunflower and its sister company, Mid-Kansas Electric Company LLC, have seen changes to both management and operations. In August, I became the fifth person to take the helm at Sunflower, replacing Earl Watkins who served as Sunflower’s legal counsel and later as president and CEO. Sunflower’s board of directors has also experi-

enced changes due to the retirements of Neil Norman, manager of Wheatland Electric Cooperative, and Dave Jesse, manager of Pioneer Electric Cooperative. Watkins, Jesse, and Norman had a combined total of 74 years of service to Sunflower. That experience is difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Be assured, however, that the current board of directors and I, along with a competent staff, will continue following the example set by so many that have come before us, fulfilling our long-standing mission of providing a reliable, long-term power supply and transmission services to our member-owners at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound business and cooperative principles. Stuart Lowry is the President and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation

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RSVP offers transportation, other services BY KAREN LA PIERRE


he Retired and Senior Volunteer Program offers many services, and one of the services they offer is transportation for out-of-town medical appointments. There is a five ride a month limit, or more on a case-by-case basis. Riders are asked to contribute gas money if they can, said Donna Baugh, director of RSVP. Riders will be taken even if they can’t pay because various agencies in the county help fund the

service. “People call us and tell us where they have to go,” she said. “We have a very dedicated group of volunteer drivers. We reimburse them the cost of fuel.” The service is limited to where the volunteers are willing to drive in one day. Baugh said they probably would have trouble getting a driver to drive to Kansas City, but they often take riders to Salina, Hutchinson, Hays, and Wichita. “They (volunteers) are very faithful,” she said. “They love to help.” The volunteers are all seniors, and they provided 446 rides in

2011. The program is open to individuals in Barton County only. They also have a wheel chair accessible van available for appointments. Baugh added that if the individual has another way to go, they need to take it. For instance, Medicaid recipients receive free transportation to appointments and they should use that. RSVP has recently implemented a Talk, Listen, Care program where a volunteer calls a home bound person daily at an agreed time to make sure they are okay. If the person does not answer, the volunteer implements a previ-

ously agreed upon plan where someone can check on them. Another program RSVP coordinates is providing newborn babies with a cap. “We have a loyal group of ladies” who knit a cap for the newborns, said Baugh. They also make lap robes for nursing home and assisted living patients. Finally, the last in-house program they coordinate is the Meals on Wheels program in Great Bend, Ellinwood and Hoisington. RSVP is a free membership program for individuals over age 55. If you sign up to be a member, you receive additional accident and liability insurance while on a

volunteer job. RSVP also acts as a clearinghouse for any volunteer opportunity in the county, and members report volunteer hours. They have volunteers at the Food Bank, in schools, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Head Start and more. “Our goal is to meet unmet needs in the community at a time when local agencies have huge cuts to budget,” said Donna Baugh, director. “Volunteers can really make a difference. In addition, RSVP has begun expanding into Pawnee County and has recently signed up its first member.

Sunflower Diversified provides much-needed job opportunities


helby had been determined to work at McDonald’s and thanks to iPad technology, she was able to apply for this dream job. Following her interview, Shelby was offered part-time employment and has now been working at the fast-food restaurant for several months. The young woman is a client of Sunflower Diversified Services, a non-profit agency that provides options to people with developmental disabilities in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. “Because Shelby cannot verbalize well, her prospects for community employment were slim,” said Ladeska “Decky” Makings, Sunflower’s chief operating officer. “Then Vocational Rehabilitation approved the purchase of an iPad for communication. “Shelby worked with her Sunflower job coach and day-services staff to become proficient,” Makings added. “She needs very little coaching now to complete her tasks.” The iPad is much less cumbersome than the picture books and word boards that also serve as communication devices. “Her iPad gives her a voice,” Makings commented. “We will continue to help Shelby learn about other applications that will further expand her options.” Shelby also works part-time at Sunflower’s manufacturing plant to supplement her income. Thelma is another Sunflower beneficiary of new technology – an electric wheelchair that allows her the ability to earn a paycheck. “Thelma’s cerebral palsy requires that she have specialized seating to keep her

Krom commented. “It is better and faster in every way, and it has additional safety features.” Whether Sunflower individuals work in the community, recycling or manufacturing, “they learn the basic employment behaviors necessary to succeed,” Krom said. “They are paying attention to the task, completing the task and working with a team. With the new technology, they are also interacting with all the bells, buttons and whistles.” In addition, Krom noted that Sunflower staff members are benefitting from new technological advancements. “We are even more efficient because of improved communications 24 hours a day,” Krom explained. “Smart phones allow immediate response, and there is flexibility in the workplace because of laptops.” Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive direcCOURTESY PHOTO tor, noted that when staff members are more efficient they better serve the people Fred Ford, left, and David Manka operate the new horizontal baler at the Sunflower Diversified Services recycling processing plant. The baler processes plastic contain- who count on Sunflower for its employment and other services. ers for shipment to vendors. “Our staff is helping Sunflower individuals find the employment they want, body in a more upright position,” Makings “Thelma is very grateful to all who conwhich leads to more productivity and the explained. “The wheelchair helps maintain tribute to Sunflower’s special needs fund the circulation in her legs and feet, and that helps with these costs,” Makings said. rewards of earning their own paychecks,” make it possible for her to use her hands. “Their generosity affords her the indepen- Johnson said. “Our client payroll was “Because of the chair’s special configudence, productivity and community inclu- almost $240,000 last year at the manufacturing plant alone. In the last five years, ration, she has the freedom to ambulate sion that are so important to all of us.” the payroll has grown by 19 percent. on her own and hold down a job,” MakNew technology is also allowing Sun“This not only helps Sunflower clients ings added. “Thelma’s independence is flower’s recycling program and manufacby giving them more control over their very important to her and would not be turing plant to keep up with the times. possible without the wheelchair’s adaptaFor example, the new baler is compacting lives, it is also good for the community as a whole,” Johnson elaborated. “If they are tions.” recyclable materials much faster, said earning a paycheck, fewer tax dollars are Electric wheelchairs are expensive and Sarah Krom, Sunflower community supneeded and more money is circulating in Medicaid doesn’t cover the entire cost or ports coordinator. the community.” pay for the majority of repairs. Therefore, “And it is just much easier to use,”

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GROWING OPPORTUNITIES Research collaboration with Australian Plant Biosecurity Center set to secure food supplies, increase academic exchanges


fficials at Kansas State University and at Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading plant pests research center are finalizing an agreement for a collaboration aimed at increasing agricultural security in both countries. Once formalized, the six-year partnership will pair Kansas State University plant pathology and entomology experts with those from the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, or CRC. The center is a consortium among several of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading governmental research institutions and universities. Through this partnership, researchers will study emerging plant diseases and insect pests that threaten American and Australian agricultural systems and develop new strategies and technologies to defend against them. Kansas State University will be the only American university involved. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This initiative between Kansas State University and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre comes at a crucial time when increased need is placed on the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agriculture because of a growing population,â&#x20AC;? said Kirk Schulz, Kansas

State University president. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As two recognized world leaders in this area, it makes sense to work together to find solutions to these biosecurity challenges that confront producers in the U.S., Australia and the rest of the world. Developing flagship initiatives like this gives us an advantage and will help make Kansas State University a top 50 public research university by 2025.â&#x20AC;? Through this first collaboration, officials anticipate future Kansas State University-Cooperative Research Centre partnerships, as well as research partnerships with Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s animal health industry. The collaboration also establishes a relationship between Kansas State University and Cooperative Research Centre member universities and creates academic exchange opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff. Initially, Kansas State University will house eight graduate students from Australia. Interactions with the Cooperative Research Centre began several years ago when center officials contacted Jim Stack, a Kansas State University professor of plant pathology, about the Great Plains Diagnostic Network. The network, which Stack

directs, helps researchers across the Great Plains obtain quick, accurate identifications of plant diseases and insect pests, and is one of five U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored research and extension networks in the country. The Australian center officials believed the network matched their vision for Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural future. In 2009 they visited Kansas State University to learn more about the university and its research efforts in plant diseases and insect pests. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Biosecurity is a global issue and it is imperative for us to work with other leading research organizations to help Australia and the U.S. achieve the best possible outcomes to that issue,â&#x20AC;? said Simon McKirdy, CEO and director of the Cooperative Research Centre. In August 2011, Schulz traveled to Australia to discuss collaboration with McKirdy and other center officials. That October, Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s minister counselor for innovation, industry, science and research accepted an invitation from Kansas State University to tour the campus and laboratories and meet with administrators and researchers. Australian policy prohibits foreign pathogens and organ-

isms from entering the country â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even for research purposes. Consequently, the research on pathogens, insects and various Fusarium diseases and bacteria will be conducted at Kansas State University by both university and Cooperative Research Centre researchers. Plant pathogens classified at biosafety level-3, such as wheat blast, will be studied in the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These fungi and bacteria are all potential problems for both the U.S. and Australia,â&#x20AC;? said John Leslie, university distinguished professor and head of the department of plant pathology. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other than tropical North Queensland, Australia and Kansas share similar agriculture and rely heavily on wheat and livestock. They both have mostly dry land and drought is always a possibility. Because of that climate, we share similar problems and concerns.â&#x20AC;? Finding solutions for grain storage will also be a top priority. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you struggle with drought and water issues like they do in Australia and in parts of the Midwest, stored grain issues go right to the top of the list because the best way to increase the grain available is to protect the crop you have,â&#x20AC;? said Randall

Tosh, university liaison for the Australia initiative. Tosh, who spent more than six years working for the Australian commonwealth government, is advising university officials and researchers on studies that have the highest benefit to both countries. Although research for the collaboration is not projected to begin until July, interactions with the Cooperative Research Centre are already creating opportunities in areas outside of agriculture, according to Leslie. In one instance, administrators at the University of Sydney are considering sending several architecture students to study at Kansas State University. Similar opportunities are anticipated for Kansas State University undergraduate and graduate students across multiple disciplines to study at universities in Queensland, western Australia, Melbourne and Sydney. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because that relationship has been established, it allows us to begin expanding into these other areas,â&#x20AC;? Leslie said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that if all goes well, it could mean an explosive growth of research and academic opportunities for faculty, staff and students at Kansas State University.â&#x20AC;?

Great Bend issues nearly $6 million in building permits in 2011 BY SUSAN THACKER


reat Bendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inspection department issued building permits for eight new commercial buildings and five new singlefamily dwellings in 2011, according to public records. New residential permits for a total of

$1,094,750 were issued for 2900 Harrison St., 3120 26th St., 1709 Oakmont Dr., 1906 Hubbard St. and 4531 Prairie Rose Dr. Eight new commercial buildings totaled $823,345 in new construction, plus $547,905 for 26 additions, more than $2.5 million for 86 remodeling permits and $508,305 for 54 repairs. The biggest new commercial project

was the new Arbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant at 3413 10th St. New metal buildings also went up at 812 Patton Road, 619 Odell, 818 MacArthur and 2720 Eighth St. Rounding out the new commercial projects were two mini-storage buildings at 3118 Washington St., a storage container at 603 Stone St., and the public sports complex at 41 McKinley St. There was another $392,135 in â&#x20AC;&#x153;mis-

cellaneousâ&#x20AC;? building. This included 39 sheds, 10 storm shelters, 56 fences, five garages, one pergola, eight carports, two handicap ramps and one temporary greenhouse. There were also five permits for demolitions. The grand total of $5,914,760 does not include electrical, plumbing, mechanical, signs and moving permits.

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EMERGING MARKETS Business students travel to South America to learn from successful corporations


group of 14 students from the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University recently spent 13 days in South America to find out about the growing markets of Argentina and Chile. The trip, part of the three-credit class Emerging Markets, was led by Swinder Janda, professor of marketing and Paul Edgerley chair in global business. Also accompanying the group were Chad Jackson, management instructor, and Bente Janda, academic adviser in the college. “It’s exciting to see an increasing number of KState students interested in broadening their horizons via study abroad. Such experiences are an integral part of educating our students in today’s world,” Swinder Janda said. “As emerging economies gain relevance, it is particularly important for business students to get exposed to such economies and understand how to succeed in such environments. To this end, this trip was a huge success.” On the first day of the trip the group was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Stops included a visit to the U.S. Embassy to gain knowledge of Argentina’s economy and its trade relations with the United States. Students got the chance to visit Ball Company’s Argentina plant, learn about the wine industry in Mendoza, the fifth largest wine producing region


South American markets in Argentina and Chile are growing immensely. Students from Kansas State University spent some time in the region to learn about the expanding economic activities, as well as gain insight into business models in a different cultural setting.

on the world, and visit Concha y Toro wineries in Chile. They visited

the stock market in Santiago and went on a tour of the Estadio Alberto

J. Armando in Buenos Aires, home of the Club Atletico Boca Juniors.

The students spoke with Santiago Pinto, marketing director for the Boca Juniors, who implemented strategies that have turned a 123 percent increase in revenue in three years. The strategies focused on increasing the value of the Boca Juniors brand, creating co-branding opportunities and multiple new revenue lines. Students were also able to conduct a consumer business field study by dividing into teams and going to distinct shopping areas in the city. They made observations on the differences in consumer brands at grocery stores, shopping malls and street fairs. “This was a great experience for students to test out their language skills and interact directly with merchants to learn more about the small businesses and culture of the Mendoza region,” Jackson said. In Chile, the students visited Dole Chile, the largest exporter of fruit in the country. Chief financial officer, John Rojas, discussed Dole’s strategy including plans of expanding further into markets in the United States. He also shared personal experiences from his career in international business including the challenges of raising a family in a foreign country, career advancement opportunities and the value of having a network. “We learned that in order to be successful, a company needs to take the time to get to know the culture it is going

to be operating in or else they are unlikely to succeed,” said Jacqueline Spahn, a senior in accounting from Wichita. “One of my favorite business visits was to the Dole Fruit Company,” Spahn said. “Dole implements a unique and timed strategy in order to be profitable all year around within all of the areas of the world in which they operate.” The Chilean finance sector was a point of emphasis on the trip. In Santiago, the group visited the Chilean stock market, Bolsa de Comerico. Andre Bergoeing Reid of Banco Santander Chile, the largest bank in Chile, gave a special presentation to the group on their visit. Reid, the head of strategic planning, delivered the investment pitch made just months before -- a pitch that raised $4 billion in a second offering. All students were required to read a book related to emerging markets and articles about how to succeed in these countries and write a reflective paper. The graduate students in the class also had to work on two Harvard Business Cases related to Concha y Toro and Boca Juniors. “The readings created a context for class discussions and for students to reflect on the observations while in Argentina and Chile,” Swinder Janda said. Local student joining Spahn on the trip included Heather Stos, senior in marketing, of Great Bend.

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DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Shown above is the Golden Belt Humane Society south of Great Bend. Much has changed at the society over the years.

Historical perspective of the Great Bend Humane Society BY JERRY SCHRADER, DVM


uring the years prior to and during World War II, Great Bend was expanding and one of its growing pains was an animal control problem. The city attempted to handle the problem within the city’s governmental structure by having a “dog catcher” and disposing of the unwanted animals. This resulted in inhumane treatment, unfeeling and thoughtless control procedures, the frequent and needless shooting of animals on the city streets, and few attempts to prevent the problem or return animals to their owners. In short, this approach was with out merit or redemption. A core of concerned citizens, incensed at what was happening, banded together to reverse this situation and insure a humane approach to the problem. A local nursery man, Herb Schrepel, offered his nursery facilities at 2910 North Main as a shelter for the animals. Others donated equipment, food, transportation, time, money, personal talents, and anything else needed to get the project off the ground. The first few years were a series of victories and defeats, with problems being met and solved, and with the somewhat nebulous vision of their intent and purpose graduating

into what we now know as the Great Bend Humane and Animal Welfare Society with its corporate structure and stated purpose. This first group of dedicated and pioneering souls included - Herb Schrepel, Irene Lewis and her husband Buddy, P.J. (Phil) Bigham, Alberta Richey, Mary Thies, Harry Lytle, and Jack Toot. Others included Lloyd “Bud” Spruill, Betsy Mering, Helen Morrison and Dr. Jay Renolds all of whom helped to nuture this fledgling organization into maturity. The original Articles of Incorporation were signed by Herb Schrepel, Irene Lewis, Alberta Richey, Mary Thies, Harry Lytle and Jack Toot on August 8, 1950 and was granted for 100 years and to operate with seven directors and it’s published by-laws and officers and the stated corporate purpose - “To prevent cruelty, to advance humane education and to engage in any and all activities in furtherance of the forgoing.” The resident agent shown on the corporate papers was Herb Schrepel in care of Schrepel Landscape Nurseries at 2910 North Main. The original papers were prepared and notarized by Robert P. Kennan. This was and still is a nonprofit corporation both in legal intent and throughout the years day to day function. The original shelter featured cages, pens, and facilities built by volun-

teers with donated and purchased materials that were adequate but quite rudimentary compared to the current facility. The first corporate vehicle was an $80 used care with seats removed and the interior converted to cage strays that were picked up. Later, when KVGB decided to sell their structure south of the river, $15,000 was borrowed and added to money put up by the founding members to purchase what is now our current facility and to add a small concrete shelter. This was accomplished in the early mid-50s and amendments to the corporate charter to reflect these changes were recorded in Topeka in 1973 and listed Dr. Jerry L. Schrader as the resident agent, replacing Herb Schrepel. An agreement was first entered into with the City of Great Bend in the 1950s to enforce the animal control ordinance. That arrangement has endured and grown to the present day. The first new vehicle purchased for corporate use was in 1975, 25 years after incorporation. The organization has operated “in the red” chronically, and “in the black” sporadically . There is a long, long list of merchants and professional people who have donated services and goods and “written off ” large debts owed them by the Humane Society over the years. Without the kindness and generosity

of these people and the support of individuals within the community, this organization would have perished years ago. The list of all those people responsible for the inception, continuance and permanence of this noble organization includes those mentioned as founders to the current officers and members and the many unnamed selfSee SOCIETY, 10

he Center for Economic Development and Business Research, W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, released population projections by age cohort from 2010 through 2040 for all Kansas counties. Two sets of population projections were completed to account for the unreliability of migration patterns. Migration patterns can change rapidly due to economic conditions, government policy or natural disasters. The first projection set is based on the continuation of migration patterns (domestic and international) as experienced in each county from 2000 through 2009. The second set of projections assumes a net migration rate of zero throughout the forecast period. Based on recent migration patterns, the state’s population is projected to increase, on average, 0.48 percent annually and grow to 3.238 million by 2040. Based on a zero migration assumption, the state’s population is projected to increase, on average, 0.45 percent annually and grow to 3.217 million by 2040. In addition to the above projection sets, additional demographic details were generated for each county, including population counts by gender. Also, using the Center’s model “what if analyses” can be conducted using various migration assumptions. Methodology The CEDBR prepared population forecasts for

Kansas counties using the conventional cohort survival model. For each of 36 age/sex cohort groups, population was forecasted using individual cohort projections of survival rates, birth rates and migration. Survival Rates The first step in the projection process is to “age” each cohort by applying the appropriate cohort survival rate. The cohort survival rate is the percentage of persons in the cohort group that will survive for five years. The survival rates used are the complement of the age-specific death rates for Kansas for 2010, divided by 1,000. Because projected death rates were not available for years beyond 2010, CEDBR used the 2010 death rates for the entire period of the forecast. Longer life expectancies are forecast for the U. S. population, but the effect on small population projections will be minimal. Birth rates To forecast the population of the 0 to 4 age cohort group, it was necessary to project the number of births for each five-year period. The total number of births for Kansas and Kansas counties were available through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Agespecific birth rates were only available at the state level. The center used the distribution of the state level rates to distribute county birth rates to age cohorts. Those birth rates were then multiplied by the number of women in each child-bearing age See POPULATION, 14

Here. 70 percent of adults read a newspaper or visit a newspaper website in an average week. 79 percent of those readers take action as a result of advertising in the newspaper. In fact, newspapers are the advertising medium shoppers use most in an average week.

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NO LATE CURTAIN Great Bend’s downtown theater project is still on schedule BY CHUCK SMITH


DC Real Estate Holdings for the theater project. • The city would develop a Community Improvement District for 15 years. It was explained Monday night the CID, which would only impact the movie theater, would add a 2 percent cost, something like an extra sales tax, that would benefit the theater project, but would not affect any other downtown businesses. • The city would “contribute one half of the expense of the attorney fees ... for the issuance of the IRBs, estimated at about $13,000. • The city would also “support and submit a request for the issuance of a 10-year property tax abatement for 100 percent of the project eligible for the IRBs.

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30 Years of Service Cindy Rodie Senior Manager, Operations

20 Years 20 Years 15 Years 15 Years Linda Sherman Barb Beckstrom Robert Willesden Charlene Milhon Consulting Sr. Operations Senior Plan Sr. Distribution Administrator Manager Administrator Specialist

15 Years Colleen Bowman Conversion Data Coordinator

Above, Lakin and Kansas will be the home of Golden Belt Cinema 6 by spring of 2013. At left, Equipment working at the future Bank of the West site is preparing for setting the foundation.


30 Years of Service Lee Axman Senior Manager, Operations



t’s still a little early to buy advanced tickets, but work is moving ahead on schedule for the development of a new downtown movie theater in Great Bend. Dennis Call, one of the developers of the Golden Belt Cinema 6, said the construction that can be seen at 12th and Kansas is one of the first major steps that will lead to the April 2013 opening of the six-screen facility at Lakin and Kansas. While some extra work had to be done to the footings to prepare for the foundation work, Call said the construction of the new Bank of the West facility is moving ahead on schedule and that will keep the project on track for demolition of the current bank building this summer. The six-screen facility will be built where the current bank building is located after Bank of the West moves to the other end of the block. The area between the two structures will be used for parking. Mayor Mike Allison remarked when the project was announced that pretty much every economic development plan for the community for years has included the need for a new theater, and the community was excited this past year when local businessmen Call and Chad Somers invested about a half million dollars in purchasing and renovating the current triple theater on west 10th Street. All of the seating, sound and projection will be the most modern equipment available. Call said when it’s done, the facility will be the best between Wichita and Denver. As was reported earlier, city incentives for the theater project include: • A $300,000 contribution from the sales tax incentive fund to

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SOCIETY, from page 8 less and persevering animal lovers in between. Because of these people, this is truly an organization of “all seasons and all reasons”. The ultimate benefactors, as intended, are the animals and the community. The Humane Society received a donation of $190,000 from Delilah Clarkson. The Humane Society borrowed $65,000 from Farmers Bank. And additional money was donated totaling nearly $300,000 for the building and furnishing of the new shelter building. In December of 2005, changes were made in the by-laws to change the board to a (9) member board comprised of the president and (8) standing board members. In agreement of the contract with the City of Great Bend, to allow the city to appoint (3) voting members to the Humane Society Board of Directors and Barton County to appoint (1) voting member to the Board of Directors. The membership prices were increased. Junior (18 & under) (non-voting) $15 Family (voting) $35 Individual (over 18) (voting) $20 Business (voting) $50 Life (voting) $150 Senior Citizen (voting) $15 In February 2006, the non-profit Corporation Certificate of Amendment was filed. Changing the name from the “Great Bend Humane and Animal Welfare Society” to the “Golden Belt Humane and Animal Welfare Society.” An agreement was first entered into with the city of Great Bend in the 1950s to enforce the animal control ordinance. That arrangement has endured and grown to the present day. The City of Great Bend has honorably exceeded the contract with the Humane Society over the many years we have worked together. The most recent contract with City of


Local humane societies can often help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Great Bend was signed and took effect on Jan. 1 2006 and is enforced to this day. In 2006, Barton County started paying for the same services as the city of Great Bend. The Humane Society did not provide services except as a courtesy for the residents of the county until 2006 at the request of county officials. The new contract provides service for both the city of Great Bend and Barton County. In return for the funds agreed upon by the

contract, the Humane Society will provide the following services to the community: 1. Regular hours of operation 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. a. Emergency hours are 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on Saturday to 8:30 a.m. on Mondays. 2. During regular hours, the Humane Society, it agents and employees, shall be responsible for the han-

dling of dead, injured or detained strays, bite cases, investigation of stray complaints, and other duties set for here herein. During emergency hours, the. Humane Society, its agents and

employees, shall handle injured animals, detained strays, bite cases and dead animals as feasible and practical. Duties described by contract: 1. Remove dead or

stray animals from the street. 2. Impound animals for rabies observation pursuant to Chapter 6,16 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Great Bend, Kansas. 3. Impound animals for violation of City Animal Control Ordinances. 4. Patrol city streets for stray animals when kennel space is available to impound said animals, 5. Manage wildlife that is posing a threat to public safety in conjunction and cooperation with the representatives from the Department of Kansas Wildlife and Parks. 6. Assist officers of the Great Bend Police Department by impounding animals in need of care, responding to complaints of animal cruelty and citizen complaints regarding animals. 7. Assist citizens of the city in filing complaints against violators of Chapter 6 of Code of Ordinances of the City of Great Bend, Kansas. 8. Assist the postal services and public utilities by responding to animal complaints in a timely manner. 9. Endeavor to locate lost pets and reunite them with their owners as time permits. 10. Rescue animals whose owners have moved and/or abandoned them. 11. Endeavor to ensure rabies vaccination compliance by issuing certificates or establishing proof of current vaccinations for every animal leaving the shelter. 12. Enforce Chapter 6 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Great Bend, Kansas, animal regulations of the State of Kansas,

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LOOKING FOR A REBOUND Local, state housing markets looking good BY DALE HOGG


ast October, the Wichita State University Center for Real Estate released its 2012 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast. Nearly two months into 2012, the numbers projected last fall are spot on, said center Director Stan Longhofer. “We’re pretty much on track with what we saw then,” he said. “We’ve turned the corner.” Figures could change with revised numbers and interest rates, and the statewide market is impacted at some level by national factors. But “every real estate market is local. Real estate markets are extremely local. “Things have been very stable,” said Kevin Keller of the Great Bend and Barton County real estate markets. “There has been no boom and no bust.” Back in the 1980s when oil prices tanked, the real estate market followed suit. “But, since then, things have state very constant,” Keller said. Now, in Barton County, the rental market is extremely tight and there is a shortage of inventoryfor sale, Keller said. At the same time, farm land is selling at an all-time high and the commercial property market is solid and stable. Unemployment has dropped and interest rates have remained favorable. And, Longhofer said, “there has not been any new really bad news (on the economic front). That helps improve consumer

DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The housing market in Great Bend and Barton County has remained stable, and it didn’t undergo the bust that plagued the markets in other parts of the country.

confidence.” Sales are still low, but are trending upward. “I am optimistic about the spring selling season,” the director said. Kansas home sales began to rise in 2012, but will remain below their 2009 level, according to the report. “It will be a while before we return to the high levels of 2005 and 2006. “Most markets across the state have begun to

recover from the ‘hangover’ that followed the expiration of the home buyer tax credit last year,” Longhofer said. “Sales should rise by 8.8 percent next year, but will still remain well below their 2009 level.” If there is a darker side, Longhofer said it is the so-called shadow market. “There is still an overhang of inventory not officially on the market” by people See HOUSING, 13

The national housing scene:


he January 2012 housing scorecard from the Housing and Urban Development notes that market data shows progress on housing overhangs, but continued fragility in home prices and sales. nventories of existing homes for sale have continued to improve over the last two quarters, declining from 3.2 million in the second quarter to 2.4 million in the fourth


quarter. Housing units held off the market have also fallen, from 3.9 million in the first quarter to 3.6 million in the fourth quarter. Existing home sales continued to increase this month, while new home sales declined. In addition, foreclosure starts continued to fall in December, though foreclosure completions ticked upward.

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Q. What other local agency offers this range of services? A. There isn’t one that even comes close. Sunflower unveils Focus on Abilities program Sunflower sponsors walk to benefit the disabled New hearing equipment available for screening kids First Step Recycling adds mobile shredding service Home visits important for special needs children Early Ed Center helps children overcome delays Women reach new level of independence Sunflower EEC staff receives autism training Tools, training help EEC correct behavior disorders Gift gives speechless man a voice Sunflower Diversified Services starts outreach program Lunch & Learn at Sunflower changes perceptions Sunflower, college join forces for program ‘Tenacious’ 6-year old reaches milestone ICC supports Sunflower’s early ed center Headlines from The Great Bend Tribune

8823 4th, Great Bend, Ks. 67530 • 620-792-1321 •



How a housing crisis eventually becomes a jobs crisis 1. The housing industry A standard home sale involves two real estate agents, a home inspector, an appraiser and a title company. It involves the bank that writes the mortgage and, often, the broker who goes and finds it. If it’s a new house, someone has got to build it. And there’s a lot less of all that going on these days. Realtors According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 18,000 fewer real estate agents in the U.S. than there were in 2007. Construction workers

There are more than 1.5 million fewer construction workers in the U.S. than there were in 2007, that includes everything from floor layers to roofers. (Although the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does lump miners and related extraction fields into those statistics.) Looking at carpenters alone, the U.S. is down 349,000


he purchase of a house sets off a long chain of events. The money spent to buy it and to live in it ripples through the economy, creating jobs. From a locksmith on Main Street to an investment banker on Wall Street, from furniture factories to City Hall, people earn a living off that one transaction. We’re now experiencing what happens when people don’t buy houses. Home sales have fallen since before the recession. And the inability to change that has played a major role in an ongoing jobs crisis. Housing and jobs have become so intertwined that many experts say we will never enjoy a broad recovery until the housing market picks up. But without jobs, it’s hard to see how people can start building and buying houses. Here’s a look at how real estate woes have infected.

Mortgage brokers Fewer home sales mean fewer mortgages, which means fewer brokers and bankers are needed to write them. The ranks of appraisers have shrunk, too, with 3,600 fewer jobs.

2. Related industries

Furniture stores During the housing bust, furniture businesses all over the country cut staffing. Some stores closed their doors, including St. Louis, Mo.-based chain Storehouse, which was an early victim of the softening market in 2006. Hardware stores Look at the Home Depot. In 2000, the orange giant had 227,000 “as-

sociates” manning stores nationwide, selling tools, lumber and appliances to contractors and do-ityourself homeowners. By 2006, there were 364,000. Then came the crash, and today Home Depot’s workforce is a lean 321,000, even as the number of stores has grown.

The housing collapse continues to ripple in many other ways. It saps funds people use to start a business, and tax dollars that employ police and firefighters. It means some people stay put because they can’t sell their house, while others wind up on their parents’ couch, or doubled up with roommates instead of living on their own.

pay freezes in some parts of the country. Why? The bite of falling revenue from sales and property taxes is still being felt in budgets across the country. Less mobility According to data firm CoreLogic, more than 22 percent of mortgageholders owe more than their house is worth. That makes moving for a better job a losing proposition. So, many stay put, working the job they have, or not at all.

Startup cash crunch To start a business, you need cash. And for many entrepreneurs, the most likely source is their home. But what happens when home equity and equity loans dry up? The number of businesses started in the U.S. fell 17.3 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. And it’s new businesses, not old ones, that create most new jobs.

Fewer new households Eventually, this starts to cycle back upon itself. The inability to get a job means more young people stay home with their parents, or live with roommates longer. Even immigration has slowed, especially from Latin America — why come to the U.S. if there are no jobs? This means fewer households being started — household formation in 2008 and 2009 was at its lowest level since the 1940s — which means less spending of all kinds, which means fewer jobs.

Local government layoffs State and local governments are forecast to lose up to 110,000 jobs this fall, according to IHS Global Insight. Those who remain have faced furloughs and




What’s the first thing you do after you buy a house? You change the locks. Maybe buy some paint or furniture or a new lawn mower. You spend money on things that employ other people. But when you stay put, you don’t buy that stuff. And a lot of people don’t get paid.

4. Stunted job creation

BY TIM LOGAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

What’s next?

Loan industry Loan servicing and processing outfits hire by the hundreds when times are good, then slash jobs when things go bad. There are more than 73,000 fewer loan officers than there were in 2007. And while some mortgage companies saw increased hiring during the 2009 refinancing surge, total employment is still less than its prebust peak.









How do we turn housing from a drain on the economy back into a driver of it? How does it create jobs, instead of slashing them? The only good answers seem to be time, and the ancient laws of supply and demand. Higher home prices would help, by freeing up more homeowners who are trapped by their mortgage, so they can sell and move and kick-start the

cycle again. A slowdown in foreclosures could help too, by easing the glut of “shadow inventory” that hangs over everything else and drags prices down. Home building has fallen sharply, which is keeping supply in check. And, eventually, 20-somethings leave the nest. In the long run, that bodes well for housing, and for jobs. But the long run could be a long time coming.

3. The broader economy Consumer spending was so tied to home values that when those values sank, so did spending. The manufacturing pipeline began to dry up. The banking system had less juice. And local governments began to feel the pinch of less tax money. All that led to layoffs in industries that are, at least in theory, far removed from the buying and selling of homes. Manufacturers The people who made household things like furniture, tools and electronics got clobbered as demand for their products plunged. St. Louis, Mo.-based Furniture Brands, one of the country’s largest furniture-

makers, has been cutting jobs and shifting manufacturing away from the United States for years. Since 2006, its workforce is down nearly 5,000 people, and 2,700 of its 9,000 employees are now overseas. Home equity loans During the 2000s, a chunk of consumer spending was fueled by second mortgages and home equity loans. Since the housing crash, those loans have become scarcer. Tighter lending standards and falling home values have squelched second-loan lending — dampening money spent on everything from education to travel, and the jobs that come with them.

Sales and property taxes Fewer appliances, TVs and hardware sold mean less money for local government, which relies heavily on sales taxes. Falling home values also have crimped property tax receipts — key revenue for school districts. Banks and investors Big banks and investors who bought the mortgages that went bust in the housing crash have written hundreds of billions of dollars off their books. They have written off employees, too. While hiring rebounded for a while last year, there are 100,000 fewer jobs at U.S. banks than there were at the start of 2007.


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HOUSING, from page 11 who want to sell but haven’t listing their home. None the less, “as home sales pick up, listings will pick up,” he said. The 2012 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast reviewed current housing market conditions in markets across the state – including Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka and Wichita – and forecasts housing market activity through the end of 2012. The title of this year’s forecast is “Navigating the Turbulence,” reflecting the array of forces that have been buffeting housing markets recently. “This is a great time to buy,” Keller said. Interest rates are low and there is grant money available to help some buyers. Highlights of the 2012 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast include the following. Barton County Keller said, as of this last Wednesday, there were 69 homes for sale in Great Bend and 102 in the county. In 2011, 235 units sold in Great Bend with an average price of $88,165. Statewide forecast • Home sales – Home sales across Kansas have fallen in each of the past three years. This trend will likely continue in 2011, with sales ending the year down 1.8 percent to 28,250 units. Sales should begin to rise in 2012, increasing by 8.8 percent to 30,740 units. • Construction – Singlefamily residential building permits in Kansas rose by 3.9 percent in 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit, but have declined since then. Home building activity will end 2011 down 11.4 percent at 3,370 units and then pick up again in 2012, rising 20.5 percent to 4,060 units. • Home prices – Aver-

What is a housing bubble?


DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Earlier forecasts for the housing market in 2012 are proving to be accurate, experts say. This signals a possible start to a long-term improvement.

age home prices across the state will end 2011 down 3.6 percent, led by declines in the northeast part of the state. The pace of decline will slow in 2012, with average values falling 1.0 percent. Kansas City market • Home sales – Total home sales in the Kansas City area will rise slightly in 2011, ending the year up 0.5 percent at 23,060 units. Sales activity should rise again in 2012, up 6.7 percent to 24,610 units. • Construction – After falling to historically low levels in recent years, new single-family residential building permits in the Kansas City metropolitan area rose by 11.5 percent in 2010. New home construction is poised to rise another 15.8 percent in 2011 to 2,465 units and

then rise again in 2012 to 2,800 units. • Home prices – Home prices in the Kansas City metropolitan area have continued to fall in 2011 and should end the year down 5.5 percent. Values will decline another 1.6 percent in 2012. Lawrence market • Home sales – The home buyer tax credit “hangover” in the Lawrence market has been deeper and longer than many anticipated. As a result, total home sales in the Lawrence area are on pace to end 2011 down 14.5 percent at 1,060 units. Sales activity should begin to pick up in 2012, however, rising 8.5 percent to 1,150 units. • Construction – New home construction in the Lawrence metropolitan

area has also declined this year, dropping 28.9 percent to 150 units. Permits should rise again in 2012, up 20 percent to 180 units. • Home prices – Home prices in the Lawrence metropolitan area have continued to fall in 2011 and should end the year down 1.6 percent. Prices should stabilize in 2012, rising by a negligible 0.7 percent. Manhattan market • Home sales – Home sales within the city of Manhattan have fallen slightly from the strong years of 2006 and 2007, but Manhattan remains a much stronger housing market than most across the state. Sales in the city of Manhattan will fall by 2.4 percent in 2011 to 570 units, but should rise modestly in 2012, up 1.8

percent to 580 units. • Construction – After a strong 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit, new home construction in the city of Manhattan fell off sharply this year. The number of singlefamily residential building permits issued by the city should end 2011 down 25 percent at 165 units. Construction activity will stabilize in 2012, rising 3 percent to 170 units. • Home prices – Home prices in the Manhattan metropolitan area have finally begun to fall slightly after holding up well through the recent housing downturn. Prices should end 2011 down 1.6 percent and then flatten in 2012, rising a negligible 0.1 percent. See HOUSING, 14

his is a run-up in housing prices fueled by demand, speculation and the belief that recent history is an infallible forecast of the future. Housing bubbles usually start with an increase in demand (a shift to the right in the demand curve), in the face of limited supply which takes a relatively long period of time to replenish and increase. Speculators enter the market, believing that profits can be made through short-term buying and selling. This further drives demand. At some point, demand decreases (a shift to the left in the demand curve), or stagnates at the same time supply increases, resulting in a sharp drop in prices and the bubble bursts. Traditionally, housing markets are not as prone to bubbles as other financial markets due to large transaction and carrying costs associated with owning a house. However, a combination of very low interest rates and a loosening of credit underwriting standards can bring borrowers into the market, fueling demand. A rise in interest rates and a tightening of credit standards can lessen demand, causing a housing bubble to burst. Other general economic and demographic trends can also fuel and burst a housing bubble. Read more at www.


POPULATION, from page 8

Projected Barton County population changes

cohort. The sum of all births provided the population of the 0-4 age cohort. According to the World Population Prospects Population Database of the United Nations Population Division, birth rates are expected to decline, but only slightly, between 2010 and 2040. The effect on small population projections would be minimal. Therefore, CEDBR did not make any adjustments for declining birth rates over the projection period. Migration The study applied the 2000 to 2009 migration rates from the U. S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Cumulative Components of Population Change for Kansas, by county to estimate migration over the forecast period. Total migration was distributed by age cohort based on the Census Bureau’s November 2011 report on geographic mobility. A simplifying assumption was made that migration affects sex cohorts equally. Another simplifying assumption was made that migration patterns will remain constant over the study period. This is unlikely, but forecasting migration rates is inexact and could result in error. Population estimates should be updated every five years to reflect changing migration patterns. Furthermore, estimates should be forecasted as decennial census data becomes available.

HOUSING, from page 13 January housing starts rise 1.5 percent


ASHINGTON (MCT) – New construction of U.S. houses rose in January, according to government data that analysts say was boosted by unseasonably warm weather. Housing starts for January rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000, according to an estimate from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a rate of 688,000 housing starts for January. In December the rate reached 689,000, compared with the previously reported estimate of 657,000. Single-family housing starts fell 1 percent in January to a rate of 508,000. Meanwhile, starts in buildings with at least five units rose 14.4 percent to a rate of 175,000, continuing the surge in creation of apartment buildings. For buildings with at least five units, the average rate of starts over November, December and January was 188,000, compared with 122,000 in the prior year’s period a gain of 54 percent. Meanwhile, for single-family units, the average rate

of starts over November, December and January was 493,000, compared with 437,000 in the prior year an increase of 13 percent. Despite some gains, analysts note that housing data remains at relatively low levels, and the market faces a lengthy recovery. “There can be little doubt that unusually mild weather last month boosted the seasonally adjusted total, at least somewhat. The weather impact will eventually unwind, though not necessarily this month,” said Stephen Stanley at Pierpont Securities. “If we pan out sufficiently to gain a better perspective, 500K single-family starts is still a disastrously depressed number.” Confidence among home builders is the highest in more than four years, but remains less than a healthy reading. The shares of home builders have surged since October, with one exchange-traded fund of the sector up around 75 percent since then. Elsewhere Thursday, data indicated that foreclosure activity rose 3 percent in January, but filings are down 19 percent from the prior year. According to a report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace of foreclosure properties, there are signs that the foreclosure process is beginning to get back to normal after a slowdown.

Topeka market • Home sales – Total home sales in the Topeka area should rise by 2.8 percent in 2011 to 2,610 units. Sales will rise to 2,760 units in 2012, a 5.8 percent increase. • Construction – After a modest bump last year due to the homebuyer tax credit, new home construction should fall 26.7 percent to 245 units in 2011, the lowest figure on record. Construction activity will rebound slightly in 2012, rising by 8.2 percent to 265 units. • Home prices – Declining employment continues to put pressure on Topeka home prices, which will likely end 2011 down 4.2 percent and then fall another 2.6 percent in 2012. Wichita market • Home sales – Home sales in the Wichita area fell to their lowest level in a decade last year and are on pace to fall another 5.6 percent in

2011 to 7,390 units. Sales should begin to rise in 2012, increasing by 10 percent to 8,130 units. • Construction – New home construction activity in the Wichita area has continued to decline, and singlefamily residential building permits should end 2011 down another 24.8 percent at 715 units. The market should stabilize somewhat in 2012, with permits falling by 0.7 percent to 710 units. • Home prices – Home price appreciation in the Wichita metropolitan area will fall 2.2 percent in 2011 and then remain essentially flat in 2012, falling a modest 0.2 percent. For more information and a copy of the entire 2012 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast, visit the Center for Real Estate website at realestate.wichita. edu, or contact Longhofer at 316-978-7120 or realestate@

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Tips for getting started and staying safe in social media presented BY DALE HOGG


ccording to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey conducted late in 2011, 65 percent of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site is up from 61 percent one year ago. However, the study notes, the frequency of social networking sites, such as like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, usage among young adult internet users under age 30 stayed the same at 61 percent while use among the Boomers ages 50-64 jumped 60 percent – from 20-32 percent. What’s more, data from comScore indicates the average social media user spends at least four hours a week in social media sites. Only e-mail and search engines are used more frequently than social networking tools. “If you think social media is a fad, you’re wrong,” said Brandon Steinert. “It’s the new face of the Internet as we know it.” He should know. Steinert is the director of public relations for Barton Community College and heads up its social media marketing efforts. With this in mind, Steinert offers the following tips to get started. • “First, choose your site,” he said. Find out what most of your friends are using, and start there. • Next, head to the site of your choice and look for the option to register or sign up. • Follow the steps through the registration process, providing your name and likely an e-mail address, which may or may not be kept private depending on the site’s privacy policy. • Choose a password that is not your birthday, in numerical order or “password,” which are three of the most commonly used passwords. It’s best to choose a random assortment of numbers and letters that can be easily remembered or recorded in a safe place for your use. • Once you’re set up, and you’ve filled out the profile information you prefer to disclose, the following is how you should go about using your social media profile. Great! I’m online. Now what? “This is the fun and easy part,” Steinert said. Post an update about your day. Explore your friends’ photos and recent posts. Find your favorite brands, celebrities, poli-

DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Customers at Perks Coffee Shop in downtown Great Bend relax and check their laptops on a recent afternoon. The common sight of people with their computers or tablets is an indication the prevelence of social media sights.

ticians or local organizations and follow their news and updates by hitting “like” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter and Google+. “The types of interactions you can have with friends, family members, colleagues, etc. are limitless.” Is it safe? This is a good question, and Steinert offers some suggestions on how to protect yourself online. • Don’t assume that privacy settings default to conservative. Navigate your profile or account settings, which is where you’ll find your privacy settings. On Facebook, your best bet to stay visible is to let friends of friends find you, but they should only be allowed to see a limited profile that doesn’t contain too much information. • Don’t click every link you see. You have to be skeptical. If something seems fishy or too good to be true, it probably is. • Only add friends you know in real life. • Before letting your children have a profile on a social networking site, make sure they are of the required age. Many require children to be at least 13 years old.

• Watch what you post. Keep in mind that a post about where you are will let everyone on your friends list know your house is unguarded. shares these suggestions: • Decide how searchable you want to be. It’s best to make it a conscious choice and set up your profile the way you want, rather than leave it to the default settings. • Configure your tweet settings. You can restrict tweet delivery to those in your circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. • Keep all tagged photos private. If you’d like to make tagged (named) photos visible to certain users you can choose to add them in the box under the “Some Friends” option. • Don’t share information that can help people steal your identity or locate you. Exercise good judgment when posting and sharing personal information. • Check into your ability to opt-out with advertisers and third parties. • Be Yourself. When using social media sites, you are being social. Be yourself –

To learn more about staying safe online, visit the following organizations: • Federal Trade Commission —, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC manages, which provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information. • GetNetWise — www.getnetwise. org • Internet Keep Safe Coalition — • i-SAFE — • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children —; • National Crime Prevention Council —; www.mcgruff. org • National Cyber Security Alliance — • staysafe — • Wired Safety — www.wiredsafety. org don’t try pretend you are someone else or overstate your skills. Let your true personality shine through on social networks. • Fill out your profiles completely. Make sure you have a quality photo (headshot) so people can see who you are. Make sure you fill out your bio and website links. Give other users as much information about you (appropriate information) so they have an understand about you before you engage in conversation. • Be humble. Don’t pretend you are some ‘social media expert’ when you are not. If you are new in social media go out looking for information and industry colleagues you can chat with. • Be Active. There is no point joining these social networking site if you are not active. Make sure you follow new people, interact and talk with them, and ask questions – get free advice. • Share your content. You may be using social media for business or personal reasons. Whatever the case, share what you are doing/ working on. Sharing content invites conversation – the whole point of using these sites. See MEDIA, 3


MEDIA, from page 2 • Use tools to help manage social media. There may be mobile apps or desktop applications that can make using social media sites easier. See what’s out there and what works for you. • Take note of legal issues. Social media sharing has changed the way we distribute content. Be aware that re-tweeting content that is infringing copyright can get you in trouble – even if you do not realize. • Switch off. Don’t become obsessed or absorbed in using social media sites. Don’t be posting to Twitter all day SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

George O. Martin celebrates the publishing of a book of his poetry with a reading at the Barton Arts Center. Karen Kline-Martin is shown reacting to one of her husband’s quips.

Barton County Arts Center helps promote the arts BY SUSAN THACKER


he Barton County Arts Council is a non-profit association of Barton County residents interested in promoting the arts in Barton County. In 2000, the Art Council acquired the property at the corner of Forest and Main in Great Bend for its headquarters and gallery. The Barton Arts Center is open weekday afternoons, and often stays open later on Thursdays, along with other downtown businesses. According to a story that ran March 13, 2000, in the Great Bend Tribune, a gift from the family of the late Leonard and Dorothy Harper allowed the Arts Council to purchase the building from the Harpers for only $20,000. “Built in 1876, the landmark building, which is straight west of the courthouse, is recognized as the first stone building in Great Bend. The stone used to build the building was probably from the original Fort Zarah. The building has

housed various businesses through the years, including A.S. Allen Drug Store, First National Bank, Burke’s Shoe Store and most recently, the McCoy Shoe Store.” A staple of the Barton Arts Center for many years was the Back Room concert series. The storeroom at the back of the building was cleaned up and dubbed The Back Room, a venue for live music and other events for small audiences. Don Shorock (19442010) loved live acoustic music and handled arrangements for many of the concerts. The Back Room concerts are taking a new direction this year. Friedland & Hall performed at the Arts Center on Feb. 10, and Scott Ibex will be there at on Feb. 18. Although these are still billed as Back Room concerts on the website, Executive Director Karen P. Neuforth said the programs are moving to the front of the building, where there’s more room and the acoustics are better.

long every 15 minutes (unless you are being paid to do so). At the end of the day you need to switch off and take a break. The Federal Trade Commissions offers these additional tips aimed at tweens and teens: • Don’t post information about yourself online that you don’t want the whole world to know. The Internet is the world’s biggest information exchange: many more people could see your information than you intend, including your parents, your teachers, your employer, the police

— and strangers, some of whom could be dangerous. • Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings. • Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, See MEDIA, 7

Social media: By the numbers A recent Pew Internetand American Life Project survey notes that among Internetusers, social networking sites are most popular with women and young adults under age 30. Young adult women ages 18-29 are the power users of social networking; fully 89 percent of those who are online use the sites overall and 69 percent do so on an average day. As of May 2011, there are no significant differences in use of social networking sites based on race and ethnicity, household income, education level, or whether the Internetuser lives in an urban, suburban, or rural environment. Social networking sites have been very popular with young adults ages 18-29 almost since their inception. Between February 2005 and August 2006, the use of social networking sites among young adult Internetusers ages 18-29 jumped from 9 percent to 49 percent; during this same time period, use of these sites by 30-49 year olds remained essentially unchanged. Since then, users under age 30 have continued to be significantly more likely to use social networking sites when compared with every other adult age group. As of May 2011, over eight in ten Internetusers ages 18-29 use social networking sites (83 percent), compared with seven in ten 30-49 year-olds (70 percent), half of 50-64

year-olds (51 percent), and a third of those age 65 and older (33 percent). However, while young adults have consistently been the most likely to use social networking sites, Internetusers in other age groups have seen faster rates of growth in recent years. In the past two years, social networking site use among Internetusers age 65 and older has grown 150 percent, from 13 percent in April 2009 to 33 percent in May 2011. Similarly, during this same time period use by 50-64 year-old Internetusers doubled—from 25 percent to 51 percent. Looking at usage on a typical day, 43 percent of online adults use social networking, up from 38 percent a year ago and just 13 percent in 2008. Out of all the “daily” online activities that we ask about, only e-mail (which 61 percent of Internetusers access on a typical day) and search engines (which 59 percent use on a typical day) are used more frequently than social networking tools. “The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, senior research specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”

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Cheyenne Bottoms attracts both feathered and human visitors


n its third year being open, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms continues to attract visitors from all over the United States. This winter has especially attracted people from all around due to the unusually mild weather and unusual bird sightings. Snowy owls and whooping cranes have been especially odd visitors at Cheyenne Bottoms throughout the winter. Snowy owls are typically an arctic species that is normally only found in Canada and Alaska. However, a supposed boom in owl production this past year has driven many birds south. Kansas has had over 80 sightings of snowy owls during this irruption, and Cheyenne Bottoms has been home to at least four snowy owls for much of the winter. “We had a group of three ladies from Arkansas that stopped in the other day, who drove here just to get a chance to see the snowy owls,” said Curtis Wolf, KWEC site manager. “They were thrilled when they eventually saw them.” Other birdwatchers from out-ofstate have also stopped in to see these impressive birds so far from their normal homes.

Whooping cranes are not uncommon visitors to Cheyenne Bottoms during their fall and spring migrations; however, seeing the large white, endangered birds in January and February is unheard of. Typically, the whoopers spend their winters on the Texas gulf coast. Although not consistently seen, it is suspected that a family of whoopers has been hiding out in the Cheyenne Bottoms area the entire winter. The whoopers have been periodically seen at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and on private fields near Cheyenne Bottoms at various times. Bald eagles are another common bird seen at Cheyenne Bottoms in February. “The winter and early spring months are some of the best times to visit Cheyenne Bottoms,” said Wolf. “It is worth people’s time to make a trip to Cheyenne Bottoms and the KWEC to see what is going on this time of year.” The KWEC is a branch of Fort Hays State University’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Its mission is to educate the public about wetlands, their importance and the need for conservation.

In addition to public programs, visitors to the KWEC can see the Koch Wetlands Exhibit gallery, visit the Wetlands Gift Store, take a walk on the Nature Trail, or take a guided van tour of Cheyenne Bottoms. The KWEC is located 10 miles northeast of Great Bend, KS along K-156 Highway and is open Tuesday-Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. Admission to the KWEC is free.


Pictured above, a man watches for birds at Cheyenne Bottoms. Many people have been attracted to the wildlife area to catch unusual bird sightings, such as the snowy owl (left).

Advancements in technology help Sunflower clients communicate


hen Eric Zamora received his iPad last year, his ability to communicate was enhanced many fold. But in the near future, it could get even better. Zamora is a client of Sunflower Diversified Services, which serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. The non-profit agency celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. The next device for Zamora could be a DynaVox Maestro, which is the “latest and greatest” in communication aids, said Glennda Drescher, Sunflower chief marketing officer. Zamora has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. “It allows people with limited dexterity, such as Eric, to communicate by reading words,” Drescher explained. “After he gazes at the words, this device will actually speak them aloud as they are read.” Zamora still has many uses for his iPad, which comes in handy every day, Drescher added. “It combines text and icons so Eric can link words together. We are on the cusp of truly customized communication with these sophisticated devices.” Another beneficiary of the iPad technology is Kadin White, former Sunflower Early Education Center student and current Lincoln School third grader. Like Zamora, the youngster is using an iPad donated by the Sunflower Diversified Services Foundation.


Mary Bieker, SLP, right, explains an iPad function to young Kadin White, as Mish Prosser, special education teacher, looks on. White is a Lincoln School third-grader who has greatly enhanced his communication skills as a result of guidance from Bieker and Prosser, and the iPad donated by the Sunflower Diversified Services Foundation.

“It’s difficult to explain how much progress Kadin has made,” Drescher said. “His language has developed with amazing clarity and an increase in vocabulary. It is so much fun to see his progress.” Mary Bieker, speechlanguage pathologist, and Mish Prosser, special education teacher, deserve much credit for this success, Drescher emphasized. “They are a great team,” she said. “Mary and Mish have graciously shared their expertise and are leading Kadin down this new technological path.” Many Sunflower individuals are, or soon will be, using other new technology. For example, the agency recently acquired a new therapy table. “This new equipment offers heat therapy and soothing white noise for people who need a calming environment,” said Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director. In addition, Johnson noted, Sunflower is shopping for new, up-to-date adaptive equipment. “The people we serve are living longer, more

productive lives with our support,” Johnson said. “This means we must find adaptive equipment that better serves those who are at retirement age.” Since Sunflower also serves babies and toddlers, it is keeping up with new technology at its Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool too. Last year the staff began using a Smart Board, which along with a laptop and projector allows easy access to online material, said Cathy Estes, coordinator at both the early ed center and preschool. “We use it for our weekly team meetings to review early intervention services for specific children,” Estes said. “It allows us to use the screen to pull up all their information, while we brainstorm and write on the Smart Board at the same time. We can then email a copy of our work to everyone involved. “We also use video to record children’s activities in their own homes,” Estes continued. “Then we can watch the video and provide new ideas for intervention. All of this is done,

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nication because it would relieve stress and enhance positive behaviors.” Sunflower is a non-profit agency that is funded, in part, by tax dollars. It also relies on private donations to help with its regular programs, as well as these special needs. “We are doing all we can to keep up with new technological advancements,” Director Johnson said. “Our staff knows how important it is to provide as much as we can – whether for the youngsters or those at retirement age. We will offer anything we can to give people of any age more independence.”

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of course, with parental consent.” Estes noted that webcams and other video technology are also used to enhance the

lives of children and their families. The technology available on iPads would be helpful for speech and language issues. “We would love to have two or three iPads,” Estes commented. “Young children understand more than they can express verbally. For example, children with precursors to autism think in pictures. The old saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ is true. “Pictures relieve the anxiety of not being able to communicate what they already understand,” Estes added. “An iPad would be a wonderful tool in commu-

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SJS Governor’s Award presented at weekend Mass BY TRACY K. WILLIAMS Special to the tribune


ollowing Sunday’s 8 a.m. Mass Jan. 29, St. Joseph’s teachers were invited literally in front of God and the Parish to receive the special honor of the 2010-2011 Governor’s Award. This is the second time in SJS school history this award has been earned. In order to receive the award, SJS had to meet the following requirements: Must have achieved standard of excellence in both reading and math. must have made adequate yearly progress in both reading & math and attendance. must have been in top 5 percent of schools in both reading and math.

These three “must haves” were earned with the dedication and determination of the teachers and students alike. Only 43 elementary schools, 11 middle schools and 18 high schools in Kansas qualified for the award this year. Considering there are over 800 elementary schools in the state, this is a honor. “I am very proud of this school body and all it took to accomplish such an award day in and day out, also, the parents that care your children excel in learning, encouraging them in homework and projects.” Clayton continued, “Everyone present today, for without the support of our parish and community, SJS would not be possible – so thank you and Congratulations to us all.”


Following Sunday’s 8 a.m. Mass Jan. 29, St. Joseph’s teachers were recognized for the school’s earning the 2010-2011 Governor’s Award. This is the second time in SJS school history this award has been earned.

Fire Escape holds St. Joseph receives $2,500 for new equipment grand re-opening


LLINWOOD – Caramel latte, frappuccino, the chatter of friends and surfing the web in a beautiful coffee shop. Thinking of a big city? You need to look no further than Ellinwood. Ellinwood’s coffee house, Fire Escape, will be reopening this spring. Fire Escape is a non-profit establishment that has provided the youth in this area with a fun, safe, alcohol-free environment to gather on weekends. Since it opened, four years ago, Fire Escape has been run by volunteers from the Ellinwood community. Fire Escape will continue to fulfill this role. However, under the direction of Kelcie Exline, Fire Escape’s ministry will now include the entire community. “We felt that (Fire Escape) needed someone who would be there most every weekend to provide consistency and to better organize activities and events,” said Aaron Sauer, board vice president. Fire Escape Secretary Darren Beckwith added, “Kelcie has just graduated from college with a ministry degree and has so many great ideas from new coffee drinks to bands and speakers. We’re all excited to see the whole community be able to utilize Fire Escape.” Besides the regular evening hours on Friday and Saturday, Fire Escape will now include Saturday mornings. Exline hopes to provide an event on most Friday evenings and host a coffee ministry on Saturday evenings that the community is invited to.


he students at St. Joseph Catholic School will hopefully be enjoying some new playground equipment soon after the school received $2,500 through America’s Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM. The donations are made available through the Monsanto Fund. Through the program, winning farmers designate a local nonprofit organization to benefit from the donations. Scott Klepper of Ellinwood, Kan. has been selected as a winner in the program, and he designated the $2,500 to St. Joseph Catholic School. “This program is a great way for local farmers to be recognized,” said Marlene Clayton, lead teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School. “We truly appreciate Scott choosing us to receive the

money. We will probably use the money to buy a new slide for the playground.” Grow Communities was created to benefit nonprofit community groups such as St. Joseph Catholic School that are important to America’s farmers. For Scott Klepper, farmer in Barton County the opportunity to help grow his community became a reality when he was selected as a Grow Communities winner during the second annual program. Klepper decided on St. Joseph Catholic School because his family’s history with the school. “I’m glad I can help out a school I attended when I was a kid,” Klepper said. “I also have two nephews and a niece who attend school there now, so the school immediately came to mind for me.”

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In a ceremony held on Friday, Feb. 3 at the School, Klepper got the chance to present St. Joseph Catholic School with the $2,500 donation. In 1,245 eligible counties, farmers could win $2,500 for their favorite community nonprofit. The Monsanto Fund expects to invest more than $3.1 million in local rural communities this year alone. In total, more than $580,000 has been donated

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Grassroots group raising funds for new park project closely with the group to bring the project to fruition. “A community is only as good as you make it. I am excited to see people in our community working so hard to make Hoisington a great place to call home,” said Mayor Clayton Williamson. The group held a pig roast in October and raised more than $2,500 toward the project. FOCUS’s Jessica Baze, was elated about the news. “The much needed improvements to Pride Park are a step closer to reality as a result of the CPI Barton County Endowment’s progressive reinvestment in our community. I am confident our community will respond by supporting this much needed project.” In an effort to assist this group, the city has established an account for funds so gifts to this project are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to make a contribution to this project can submit a check at the city office or via mail at City of Hoisington, 109 E. First St., P.O. Box 418, Hoisington, KS 67544. Checks should be made out to City of Hoisington-Pride Park Project. Volunteers include Hoisington residents Baze, Kris and Jean Brinlee, Tagan Brown, Nona Jamison, Judy Loesch, Jonathan Mitchell, Duane Reif, Jeanne Schmidt, Shannon Stephens, and Randy Strickland as well as Pat Oswald of Beaver. For more information, call Jessica Baze at 620-786-2085 or Shannon Stephens at 620-6030252 or e-mail



OISINGTON — Fundraising efforts are continuing to restore pride in Hoisington’s Pride Park on East Third Street. Fostering Our Community’s Unique Strengths (FOCUS) hopes to raise more than $80,000 to make much-needed improvements to the park. FOCUS is a grass-roots group of Hoisington residents working with the city and Main Street on the project. “It’s going quite well,” said Jean Brinlee of Hoisington Main Street. In November, FOCUS announced that Hoisington received a sizable pledge to kick off its fundraising efforts. CPI’s Barton County Endowment committee offered a pledge of $5,000 for the project if FOCUS successfully raised an additional $10,000 by Feb. 1. This was accomplished, in big part thanks to an $8,000 pledge by the Hoisington Area Recreation Program (formerly the Jaycees). So far, FOCUS has $16,924 either in the bank or pledged, said Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell. “They are working real hard and we are pleased to be working with them.” Mitchell said they would like to have money raised “sooner than later,” and hope to start construction at the park by spring 2013. “We would like to have the funds by end of year.”


Shown are artist’s renditions of plans for improvements to Pride Park in Hoisington. Residents are raising funds for the project.

Also as money maker, FOCUS is offering to pick up and haul away any junk vehicles in the city, Brinlee said. “We will take them for free.” The group has a deal worked out with Nobody’s Auto Salvage which is donating the scrap value of the cars and trucks to the park fund. So far, this has netted $550. This has put money in the coffers, but has served another function as well. “It has created

a lot of awareness” about old vehicles, Brinlee said. “It has helped clean the community up.” She said they are also working on an another round of advertising for the project. The initial pledge was made possible through the CPI Barton County Endowment Fund, a component fund of the Golden Belt Community Foundation. The CPI Barton County

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endowment is a donor-advised fund. It was established by the CUNA Mutual Group when they purchased CPI Qualified Plan Consultants Inc. in June 2009. The goal of the endowment is to enhance Barton County communities to improve the quality of life where their employees live and work. “We applaud people who take an active role to make their community better,” said Brenda Kaiser of CPI. “Our pledge to provide funding for the Hoisington Pride Park project is a great opportunity to make a visible enhancement in the community of Hoisington. We look forward to provide additional enhancements to Barton County in the future.” The pledge will help FOCUS to build on recent successes. In September, Hoisington’s governing body expressed support of the project and authorized administrative staff to work

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research bears out and who steps forward with a plan to develop the location. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to limit the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

involvement,â&#x20AC;? Mitchell said. That is why they are looking for another party to do the developing.

Also, â&#x20AC;&#x153;if members of the community have any ideas, we are definitely willing to listen,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Partnerships and new ideas will help us to continue moving forward.â&#x20AC;? Mitchell said city officials believe there is a need for new housing in Hoisington. However, there are few areas within the city that are big enough to handle this kind of expansion. Most are small and land-locked. There is no time line for final plans, Mitchell said. The city is taking its time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes unexpected partners step up to the plate in big ways,â&#x20AC;? he said. This was the case when a group of individuals from Gunnison, Colo., offered to donate the land to the city â&#x20AC;&#x153;to incite further development.â&#x20AC;? The group is known as Wyoming V, LLC. The property is the former site of a trailer park.

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OISINGTON â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Now, it is just a vacant lot north of Hoisington, but city fathers here have visions of that land becoming a news housing development in their housingstrapped community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was offered as donation to the city,â&#x20AC;? City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said of the 6.7-acre swatch. They have not taken title or deed on the property yet, but hope to by March 1. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our next step is to research our options,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We just have to gather enough information to make a sound decision and explore what possibilities there are.â&#x20AC;? The goal, he said, is to develop the lot, preferably for new homes. What type of homes remains uncertain.


Hoisington flower shop Prairie House Flower and Gifts is relocating to the communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s downtown. It is one of several developments on Hoisingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Main Street.

They could be single-family, multi-family, income based or something else. This all depends on what

Other economic development news from Hoisington Work continues at Kindscherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mule Barn which has already helped to catalyze interest in development on Main Street. Over a period of four months, Hoisington has seen a new restaurant (Mi Tierra), a new farm and home store (Kindsherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mule Barn which hopes to open in March), a relocated flower and gift shop (Prairie House Flower and Gifts which will open soon), and another restaurant (Gambinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pizza) will soon be under new ownership.

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Great Bend boasts five coffee shops; each offers different experience BY STEPHANIE YOUNG Special to the tribune


ow do you like your coffee? That question isn’t so simple to answer in Great Bend anymore. Would you rather it with a meal in a larger space infused with craft from Seattle, the epicenter of U.S. coffee culture? Or in a smaller shop whose manager vows that no one leaves the store “with a drink they don’t like.” Perhaps you’d like to sip while tackling the latest scrapbook project or reading a book in a peaceful, quiet environment. All of these options are available at one of five coffee shops – one for every 3,000 residents of Great Bend – including three within a half block of each other downtown. “I would definitely say it’s a trend,” said Jan Peters, president of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. Peters, who has been with the chamber seven years, attributes the popularity to several things. For one, it’s one of the least expensive businesses to get into, she said. Second, she believes the revitalization of downtown Great Bend – when investors opened seven new businesses – has drawn more customers there. And third, each store offers something other than coffee, securing a specific niche. “Most of them have venues in addition to coffee,” she said. “Since the revitalization of downtown, 29 businesses


From left to right: Nancy Sundahl, JoAnn Hildebrand, Arlene Kutina and Loretta Southard meet several times per week at Everything Under the Son’s Friars Cup of Java after they exercise. Perks Coffee Shop has a McPherson company roast their bulk beans (at left) on demand, making them as fresh as possible, said manager Linn Hogg.

have either moved in or expanded. Downtowns are hard, especially in a rural community, but I think we have the right plan.” Peace, quiet and coffee Everything Under the Son Christian supply store has been in Great Bend for 20 years, but

when the owners moved it to its current location – 407 McKinley St. – they added Friars Cup of Java coffee shop. “We thought it was a nice complement to the store,” said Krista Ball, who owns the store with husband, Mark. “It’s not a booming business, but it’s a good service to the

community. This is the only coffee shop on this side of town.” The coffee shop is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store also has a reading nook and a play area for young children and their moms to congregate. The store also sells Christian-themed CDs, DVDs, guitars, decorative items, jewelry and clothing. Among the shop’s regulars, Ball mentioned a “group of women who come in and gab after exercise class.” On a recent Thursday

morning, the “group” numbered four and laughter trailed out the door of the shop. “We like it here. We don’t have to rush out to open up a table. We can relax and have our girl time,” said Nancy Sundahl, Great Bend resident and longtime participant of the post-exercise coffee klatch which reaches a dozen or more some days. The women said the promise of coffee in the morning after working out is a good motivator. “This is our reward,” said JoAnn Hildebrand

of Great Bend. Two locations, same coffee Last year was busy for Great Bend Coffee Company. Located downtown at 2015 Lakin Ave for the past three years, owners Paul and Barb Wagner decided to start offering dinner and open a second location at St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center at 3515 Broadway. The downtown location is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The St. Rose location is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. With the sharp sound of frothing milk and the clink of metal in the background, the Wagners and their staff attend to customers. “Are you going solo today?” Barb asks a regular on a recent afternoon. “People have been very supportive of our business. Sometimes we see the same people three times a day,” Paul said. “We try to appreciate that every chance we get.” “I’m stuck here,” said Great Bend resident Robert Joy whose favorite drink is Awake tea. “I’m here practically every stinkin’ day.” Paul Wagner is originally from Seattle and operated coffee shops in Washington state and New Mexico. Barb is from Boise, Idaho. The couple moved to Great Bend five years ago. “Great Bend wasn’t on our list with the realtor,” Paul said. “But we fell in love with it.” See COFFEE, 9

The Unruh’s currently own the Angus Inn, and have a partnership in Perkins and The Page restaurants with Dan and Cheri Esmond of Lawrence, Ks. Loren wants to thank the community for all their support throughout the years. His operations are still going strong and he hopes to be here for another 40 years.

The original restaurant building is now home to Perkins Family Restaurant and The Page Bistro and is still going strong

Mr. Unruh opened the Best Western Angus Inn in the Spring of 1977 next to the Black Angus Steak Ranch

Mr. Loren Unruh opened the Black Angus Steak Ranch on October 27, 1970


Identity theft crackdown sweeps across the nation More than 200 actions taken in 23 states


he Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department today announced the results of a massive national sweep cracking down on suspected identity theft perpetrators as part of a stepped-up effort against refund fraud and identity theft. Working with the Justice Department’s Tax Division and local U.S. Attorneys’ offices, the nationwide effort tar-

geted 105 people in 23 states. The coast-to-coast effort took place over the last week and included indictments, arrests and the execution of search warrants involving the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds. In all, 939 criminal charges are included in the 69 indictments and informations related to identity theft. In addition, IRS auditors and investigators conducted extensive compliance visits to money service businesses in nine locations across the country in the past week. The approximately 150 visits occurred to help ensure these check-cashing

facilities aren’t facilitating refund fraud and identity theft. “This unprecedented effort against identity theft sends a strong, unmistakable message to anyone considering participating in a refund fraud scheme this tax season,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We are aggressively pursuing cases across the nation with the Justice Department, and people will be going to jail. This is part of a much wider effort underway at the IRS to help protect taxpayers.” “The Justice Department is working closely with the IRS to investigate, prosecute, and

punish tax refund crimes committed through the theft of identities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Tax Division. “Now, more than ever, we must remain vigilant against the unauthorized use of identification information to defraud the U.S. government.” The national effort is part of a comprehensive identity theft strategy the IRS has embarked on that is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. In addition to the law-enforcement crackdown, the IRS has stepped up its internal

reviews to spot false tax returns before tax refunds are issued as well as working to help victims of the identity theft refund schemes. The law-enforcement sweep started last week across the country, reflecting investigative efforts stretching back months and even years. The nationwide effort by the Justice Department and the IRS led to actions taking place in 23 locations across the country with 105 individuals. The actions included 80 complaints/indictments and informations, 58 arrests, 19 search warrants, 10 guilty pleas and four sentencings. A map of the

locations and additional details on the actions are available on, the IRS Civil and Criminal Actions page and at the Department of Justice Tax Division page http:// taxpress2012.htm has the most recent information. Beyond the criminal actions, the IRS enforcement personnel conducted a special sweep last week and on Monday to visit 150 money services businesses to help make sure these businesses are not knowingly or unknowingly facilitating identity theft or refund fraud. The visits occurred See THEFT, 12

COFFEE, from page 8 The downtown location draws workers from city, court and police offices. “They want a good value and a good meal,” Paul said. Striving for the perfect cup “We can adjust and fix anything to your taste buds,” said Perks Manager Linn Hogg. “Why pay for something if you don’t like it? You don’t leave the store with a drink you don’t like.” Perks Coffee Shop at 1216 Main St. opened around the same time as Great Bend Coffee Company. It is one of seven businesses opened via an initiative called My Town. “We started out purely as a coffee shop,” Hogg said, adding that the shop now offers homemade soups, baked goods and bierocks. “This is very traditional.” Hogg said the shop, which has five employees, offers a variety of bulk coffee roasted per order from a McPherson roaster. “We go through the beans really quick,” she said. “We can grind it how you want it. You’re guaranteed to have fresh roasted coffee when you buy it in bulk.” Downtown has changed in the past three years, Hogg said. “It’s fun to look down the street on Saturday and see all the cars,” she said. “You have to have a vital downtown. It tells the story of how you’re doing.” Perks is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Busy times are early in the

morning, then mid morning at break time, then from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, Hogg said. “There’s just enough time in between to get cleaned up,” she said. Customers mix coffee and scrapbooking The expense of rent on 10th Street led Celeste and Sylva Ofoma to move the store Scrapbook Moments & My Coffee to 1207 Main St. five months ago. “It was very expensive,” said Sylva Ofoma. “We still have our regular customers and others are finding us.” The store has rack after rack of scrapbooking supplies, but also sells coffee, tea, smoothies and Italian sodas, with caramel and vanilla being the favorite flavors. There is no food offered, Ofoma said, to avoid any food items damaging scrapbook materials. On Friday nights, the store is open from 6 p.m. to midnight and for $5 customers can use cropping equipment and printers at the store. “We push the racks aside and have more tables in here,” Ofoma said. “They love it.” Coming from a town in Washington state the same size as Great Bend but with 52 places to get espresso, Paul Wagner said he believes the desire for coffee here will only increase. “It’s fun to watch coming from a coffee culSTEPHANIE YOUNG ture,” Wagner said. “People are feeling there is a decent amount of selection downtown. John Reyes, left, manager of Great Bend Coffee Co. at St. Rose AmWhen they get that mindset, they’ll keep bulatory & Surgery Center, stands next to the company’s owners, Paul coming.” Wagner, and wife, Barb Wagner, center.



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Barton Community College reaches out to all ages BY SUSAN THACKER


ncouraging lifelong learning is a familiar theme at Barton Community College, where outreach starts with the very young and continues to senior citizens. Third-graders from Great Bendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eisenhower Elementary visited Bartonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Medical Laboratory Technician classrooms recently to learn about germs, organs in the human body, and even took a peek at Bartonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s baby American alligator, BCC Public Relations Specialist Joe Vinduska said. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of many ways the college reaches out to area students. For example, each year, Barton hosts Jack Kilby Science Day, bringing more than 600 high school students to the campus for a day. And every December, the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Shafer Gallery invites schools to make ornaments for its Festival of Trees. For students who may soon be entering college, Barton sponsors the Upward Bound program. According to the college website, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The program

prides itself on serving students from diverse backgrounds who aspire to complete a college degree. Students attending high schools located in Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend and Hoisington have worked year-round in preparation for their eventual college success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Barton County Upward Bound students get to participate in many fun activities as well. They do many community service projects that range anywhere from Big Brothers Big Sisters to Food Scavenger Hunts. They go on college visits, cultural trips, and many other things that will benefit them for the future. They go through a summer program to continue their education throughout the summer. At the end of every summer program they get to take a week-long trip to somewhere new and exciting.â&#x20AC;? At the other end of the spectrum, the college also reaches out to senior citizens. Residents who are 54 years of age or older (and their spouses) can join the Silver Cougar Club. In a recent report to the college trustees,


Eisenhower Elementary third-grader Haleigh Ringo listens intently as Barton Community College MLT Instructor Dana Weber shows her a real human heart in Bartonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MLT classroom on Feb. 3. Weber showed the students various bodily organs and explained how disease can affect them. The third-graders visited two MLT classrooms for various hands-on learning experiences.

Coleen Cape from the BCC Foundation office said the club was started in 2001 and now has 517 members. The Silver Cougar Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top events last year were: Silver Cougar Club Picnic, Prairie Nutcracker, Museum Madness and Day in Dodge City. Membership is $15 per year, or $25 for a couple. Benefits include a newsletter, free admission to sporting events, social events, and some classes at reduced rates â&#x20AC;&#x153;for lifetime learners.â&#x20AC;?

Eisenhower Elementary third-grader Jacob Hinton grimaces at cultures growing inside a petri dish. The students swabbed numerous locations within their classrooms at a prior date and were able to review the results when they visited Barton Community Collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MLT classrooms on Feb. 3 for some handson learning.

GBCCA celebrates over 70 years of bringing culture to Great Bend


he Golden Belt Community Concert Association has been providing entertainment to central Kansas since the early 1900s. The cultural atmosphere of the community was influenced by war-time patriotism, the roaring twenties, and the Great Depression, as well as a plan by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to revitalize the nation and bring back those lost â&#x20AC;&#x153;happy days,â&#x20AC;? the New Deal. In 1938, Great Bend was in the midst of an oil boom, the economy was thriving and a diverse population was being established. These attitudes of a booming economy and a unique population base may have influenced the citizens of Great Bend to organize an association that would bring professional musicians to the com-

munity, thus enhancing the communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cultural feelings. The organization to bring about this concept would be the Columbia Artist Bureau, New York City, an organization that was formed in 1927 by seven leading impresarios with ties to several stars. Their plan was to export musical culture to all parts of the country. In 1930, the Columbia Broadcasting System took over the new entity, named the Community Concerts Corporation. The Great Bend Community Concert Association, as it was then known, was organized in 1937 with Dr. M. F. Russellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife, Ethel, as president and 11 other charter board members. The first concert was held in February 1939, when the Mozart Boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Choir of Vienna performed in the Great Bend High School Auditorium. The

other concert that year was Metropolitan Opera soprano, Josephine Antoine. The association continued until the end of the 1941-1942 season. The concert association stopped performances during World War II and began offering cultural presentations again in the fall of 1947. Following World War II, the association had a membership of 773

adults and 145 students. The structure of the community concert association has gone through only a few changes throughout its history. The New York Association of Community Concerts founded the practice of subscription concerts so as to guarantee a substantial See CONCERTS, 11





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Rosewood featured on national television series


osewood Ranch has attracted the attention of a nationally syndicated television show that focuses on telling positive stories about rural life. The Ranch, along with Rosewood Services Inc.’s Greenhouse, will appear in episode 722 of America’s Heartland, the final episode of season seven for the show. “They spent four hours with us,” said ranch manager Eric Hammond, who was on hand when the two-man crew from America’s Heartland videotaped the show Sept. 21. “Then they visited our greenhouse a few days later. There wasn’t time to show everything we do at Rosewood, but they did get a good reflection of the ranch.” The show’s Rosewood segment is now available for viewing online at and at The first opportunity to see the show on television is Feb. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on Smoky Hills Public Television, channel 9. Rosewood Ranch is the second segment of three featured in the program. Rosewood’s segment runs approximately six minutes. The episode will air again March 7 on RFD-TV, at 7 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. central time. America’s Heartland associate producer, Tyler Bastine, discovered Rosewood Ranch online


Rosewood Services founder Tammy Hammond (center), along with Rosewood Ranch manager Eric Hammond (also center, in ball cap), instruct clients about how to prune blackberry bushes and check for berry ripeness. America’s Heartland videographer Brad White, right, captures the moment.

while he did research for possible show ideas. “I knew right away this was a story that would fit nicely into our series,” Bastine said. “We’ve never featured a ranch/ farm similar to Rosewood that is dedicated to helping folks with

developmental disabilities. It was a very moving and inspiring experience.” The program is produced in Sacramento, Calif., at PBSaffiliate KVIE. According to America’s Heartland website, traditional airings on PBS and

RFD-TV reach close to one million viewers per episode. Videographer Brad White also provides material for programs that air on National Geographic, Discovery, History Channel and others. “We are really fortunate to have such a talented videographer as Brad,”

said Bastine. Bastine and White spent half a workday videotaping all aspects of ranch life for Rosewood clients who work and ride on the ranch. Rosewood client Darren Brown said he felt like a star being videotaped and interviewed by the television crew. Approximately 25 clients were at the ranch during the taping. They took the crew through their regiment at the ranch, from riding and caring for the horses, to mowing, weed-eating and fixing fence, to picking blackberries from the vineyard and even stacking hay. “It was exciting,” said Brown about the America’s Heartland visit to the ranch. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool to see it on TV. I think I did pretty well (on camera).” Bastine said he and White also found the experience interesting and exciting. “I admire how dedicated and determined the Hammonds are in providing people with disabilities a chance to become an integral part of society,” Bastin said. “And this is one of the things I enjoy most about working for America’s Heartland, is meeting the farmers and ranchers and their families. They truly are some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work with them.”

CONCERTS, from page 10 amount of money to provide professional quality entertainers. Several years ago, family memberships were established to bring in additional members at an economical price. The local name has changed to Golden Belt Community Concert Association and reciprocal agreements are still honored. In 1986, the patron program was inaugurated to bring in additional income. The Great Bend association now contracts with Live On Stage Inc., a Nashville, Tenn., based

organization for its concert selections and full range of services. The Great Bend concerts are still given in the renovated Municipal Auditorium with a board of directors responsible for concert selection and administration. The Golden Belt Community Concert Association celebrated its 70th season in 2007-2008. Over the years, the Golden Belt Community Concert Association has afforded the citizens of Barton County and the surrounding area the ability to see

live, high-class musicians at a price affordable to everyone. Some of those artists include the Robert Shaw Chorale, the Boston Pops, and William Warfield. Mantovani, Paul Lavalle and the Band of America, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Duke Ellington and Arthur Fiedler have also graced the Great Bend Municipal Auditorium stage. A few artists have appeared in Great Bend multiple times, including Ferrente and Teicher, Peter Nero, Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original

Silver Cornet Band and Dorothy Warenskjold. This season, four concerts remain: •Guy Penrod, Feb. 17, who performed with the legendary gospel group the Gaither Vocal Band for 14 years and is returning to country music while still delivering a moving message. •Spanish Brass, March 1, created in 1989 by five Spanish musicians with a flair for both classical and contemporary music. •Anna Wilson, March 27, a critically acclaimed

jazz singer and songwriter who also sings country standards including “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and “Night Life” that evoke appreciation from country and jazz enthusiasts alike. •“Take Me Home: The Music of John Denver,” April 30, performed by Jim Curry, who brings John Denver’s music back to life through an ultimate tribute to him. Admission to concerts is by season membership only. No single concert

tickets are available. Memberships for the 2012-13 season will be sold April 14-16 at GBCCA Headquarters, located at the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, 1125 Williams. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14 and 15, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 16. Anyone wishing to inquire about a membership may do so in person by going to the headquarters on one of those dates, or they may contact Norma Hammeke by calling 620-793-6759.

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Nelson-Atkins curator praises Shafer Gallery THEFT, BY SUSAN THACKER


hen administrators at Barton Community College chose an outside consultant to evaluate the Shafer Gallery, they turned to Dr. Jan Schall, a curator at the prestigious Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Schall learned why the gallery is called “the gem of the campus.” After her on-site inspection last year, the visiting curator wrote: “The Shafer Gallery is an impressive and beautiful institution situated within the arts complex of Barton Community College. It directly serves the students, faculty and staff of the college, school children and residents of Great Bend, while also drawing visitors from the wider region. Through its Web presence, it further serves online students, including military personnel stationed throughout the world.” “We have something incredibly special here,” Shafer Gallery Director David Barnes said. Among the state’s 19 community colleges, the only one with an art gallery comparable to the Shafer is Johnson County, he said. The Shafer Gallery schedules 10 exhibitions a year, more than most other “peer institutions” that Schall used for comparison. Only the Sandzen Gallery at Bethany College in Lindsborg equals that number. And each exhibit is professionally done, with accompanying text panels, labels, teaching materials, related


This wood carving by Bob Button is part of the Shafer Gallery’s current exhbit, “Native Witness: Indians at the Shafer.” This is the final week for the exhibit. The annual exhibit of works by area high school students opens on Feb. 26.

programs and special events. Schall was also impressed with the gallery’s enrichment and educational programs for grade school children, high school students, college students and the community. Schall praised the gallery for its permanent collection – which now

contains 846 art objects – its appearance and its methods of storing the objects. While she also praised Shafer Gallery Director Barnes, Schall said the gallery needs to increase its staff with a gallery assistant and a curator of collections. “I am deeply impressed with all that Director David Barnes has accomplished at the Gallery,” Schall wrote. “His commitment to excellence is evident at every turn. Building on the achievements of former director Bill Forst and assistant director Justin Ingleman, Dave has raised the profile of the Gallery, activated its collection, organized numerous and diverse exhibitions, overseen the institution and upgrade of online software, designed and provided online content, expanded the gallery’s educational role and reached out to the community in innovative ways.” Barnes, along with Darnell Holopirek, Barton’s executive director of institutional advancement, have compiled an impact study for Shafer Gallery which incorporates Dr. Shull’s findings. This study was recently presented to the college’s board of trustees, with Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman adding support for the possibility of a larger staff at the gallery in the future. “We have a gem of a gallery and it’s being under-utilized in marketing the college,” Heilman said, noting the administration’s commitment to promoting fine arts at Barton.

Pawnee Rock DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Pictured above is the Pawnee Rock with Pavilion and Monument on a snowy February Day. The monument is a tribute to the settlers that traveled the Santa Fe Trail.

from page 9 in nine high-risk places identified by the IRS covering areas in and surrounding Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C. In addition, the IRS has more than 250 check-cashing operations under audit across the country and will be looking for indicators of identity theft as part of the exam effort. The information from these audits and compliance visits will be used to assist continuing IRS investigations into refund fraud and identity theft. The IRS also is taking a number of additional steps this tax season to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs. These efforts includes designing new identity theft screening filters that will improve the IRS’s ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a refund is issued, as well as expanded efforts to place identity theft indicators on taxpayer accounts to track and manage identity theft incidents. To help taxpayers, the IRS earlier this month created a new, special section on dedicated to identity theft matters, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and a special guide to assistance. The information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit and tips to protect against “phishing” schemes that can lead to identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another’s personal information without their permission to commit fraud or other crimes using the victim’s name, Social Security number or other identifying information. When it comes to federal taxes, taxpayers may not be aware they have become victims of identity theft until they receive a letter from the IRS stating more than one tax return was filed with their information or that IRS records show wages from an employer the taxpayer has not worked for in the past. If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS indicating identity theft, they should follow the instructions in that notice. A taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action to secure their tax account. The taxpayer should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation. Taxpayers looking for additional information can consult the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft or the IRS Identity Theft Protection page on the IRS website.

2012 Progress Edition  

This is the Great Bend Tribune's annual progress edition featuring developments in business, lifesyles and commerce for the past year.