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RAWLiNS COuNTy

SquARE DEAL “A Voice for New Frontiers”

email: squaredeal114@sbcglobal.net

VOL. 20, NO. 52

ATWOOD, KS 67730

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2012

News at a Glance

Just ‘buzzing’ around

Bloodmobile to come to Atwood The American Red Cross has scheduled the Atwood Community Blood Drive from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Columbian Hall on Lake Road. Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS or 800-733-2767 to schedule an appointment.

Although drought conditions are crippling crops, pastures and landscapes, small oases of nurtured flowers abound in the community. Honey bees, wasps and other insects are enjoying the sweet nectar of flowers grown by Wilda Werner in Atwood. Earlier this week, temperatures topped the high 90s with hot and dry conditions.

McDonald plan fundraiser A fundraiser dinner to help defray costs for the McDonald 125th anniversary celebration has been set for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 9 at the McDonald Legion.

Mud Bog to be held Sept. 8

Photo by Mary Holle

The Rawlins County Free Fair 8th Annual Mud Bog is set for Saturday, Sept. 8. The pit gate opens at 11 a.m. The fan stand opens at noon, with action starting at 2 p.m. The mud bog will be held at the Rawlins County Fairgrounds.

Truck convoy set to roll The Northwest Kansas Convoy and Truck Show will begin with truck registration from 5 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7 at the OasisPetro lot in Colby. On Saturday, the eastern and western legs of the convoy begin. Both convoys will meet in Colby. Lunch will be served at noon. A truck and bike show runs from noon to 3 p.m., at the Oasis-Petro. An auction will be held at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m., will be the presentation of awards and trophies. Proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics Kansas.

County shuttle project receives consideration By Mary Holle JoEllyn Gilliland updated the Rawlins County Commissioners on her research into a county shuttle service. She presented her information at the commissioners end-ofthe-month meeting Aug. 31. Gilliland had attended the Coordinated Transit District quarterly meeting in July. She provided the commissioners with a transportation program overview and a basic timeline for implementation. The application process for grant dollars through the Kansas Department of Transportation begins Oct. 1, she said with a 60-day period to complete the application. If the grant were awarded to Rawlins County for a shuttle program, receiving a vehicle for transportation could take 150 days to arrive.

“So we would be looking at starting [the shuttle program] the end of April or the beginning of May next year,” Gilliland said. Gilliland presented costs projections of the shuttle service for a three-year period, with initial costs the first year being the greatest because of the vehicle purchase. She and Megan Horinek, who is assisting with the project, used surrounding county programs and expenses to calculate budget projections. Assistance with funding for the local match portion of the program was available, she said, with commitments to help from Lions Club, Rotary, Second Century Fund and possibly the Area Community Enrichment Foundation. An annual donation from local groups would help with the yearly match, Gilliland said. “What happens if the state quits

funding this and dumps it all on us?” Commissioner Charlie Walker asked. “From what I’ve been told, the bare minimum of state funding will always be 15 percent,” Gilliland answered. “They can’t cut it any lower than that.” “There’s no doubt that this is a great thing,” Walker said. Gilliland said she believed the funding for the vehicle with access for two wheel chairs, the insurance, vehicle costs and county-hired drivers are figured in the yearly costs, she said. Walker expressed concern about being able to keep drivers on board the program. He speculated that Herndon and McDonald residents needed the program more than Atwood. “If this takes off and does very, very well, you could potentially run a mini van in addition to the 13-pas-

senger van you would be starting with,” Gilliland said. She asked about storage and reported that she had spoken to Wilbur Brown about parking in the school bus barn. Dispatching by using the county’s dispatch department and possibly hiring another part-time person was discussed. Gilliland said she had budgeted for another person to be hired in the financial plan. “I think the funding is there,” she said. “It’s something that I think is really important, especially in my district,” Commissioner Craig Cox said. “I think that McDonald could really use it.” The shuttle must operate only within the county’s borders. This part of the plan will support local

See ‘Shuttle,’ Page 6

New advisor is ag advocate By Mary Holle

Photo by Rosalie Ross

Special flame From left: J.Lynn Lohoefener, Danny Clark, Brian Withington and Jim Schroeder carry the Special Olympic torch along 4th Street in Atwood, past cheering grade school children and on to the welcoming crowd at PDC last Thursday. The idea of a Special Olympic torch began with law enforcement officers in 2001 in Florida. This particular torch will be paraded along streets in Northwest Kansas at various times until it ends in Colby Sept 8 at the Special Olympic’s truck convoy event, which is a fundraiser for local participants.

County hears about tax credit award By Mary Holle The Rawlins County Commissioners received an update on Rawlins County Health Center’s tax credit award during their end-ofthe-month meeting Aug. 31. Ari Harvey, Suzanna Dozbaba and Julie Britton said the award was for $215,000 tax credits with a $307,142.86 value. “This is to establish a surgical area in the former rural health clinic at the north end of the hospital,”

Britton explained, “So, it will involve the renovation of about 3,832 square feet.” The RCHC board will be attending a workshop with the hospital’s architect to determine the needs of the surgical area. I’ve earmarked three things [the surgical area] will do for Rawlins County Health Center,” Britton continued. “It will provide a professional level of service; it will be a good recruitment tool for specialists; and will provide surgical and diag-

Tuesday Markets Courtesy of Decatur Co-op, Herndon Branch

nostic services for our patient base.” Commissioner Charlie Walker asked about the project’s total costs. Britton said the grant will cover about half of the project with the rest coming from the capital campaign. “Obviously getting half of the money for a project is a really good motivation to get [the project] accomplished,” added Harvey. Walker asked if the tax credit money could be used

See ‘Tax credit,’ Page 2

WHEAT: $8.10

Cristen Black brought her love for agriculture from the east coast to the midwest. The petite fireball glows when she is speaking of the importance of agriculture to the world. “On the east coast, agriculture isn’t as important,” she said. “Most people think their food comes from the grocery store. “Here, the vo-ag and FFA programs are important,” Cristen continued. “The kids want to be involved.” Cristen is Rawlins County High School’s new vocational ag teacher and FFA advisor. She hails from Marion Center, Pa., after having taught vo-ag for seven years at United High School in Armagh, Pa. How and why did an “east coaster” make the 1,400 mile trip to the heartland? “My sister [Candi Douthit] lives in St. Francis and I visited every year,” she said. “I really like it out west.” Cristen learned about the RCHS job on the website, schoolspring.com. “You pick a state and it will tell you what ag jobs would be available,” she said. The closeness of Atwood to St. Francis was a positive for the ag teacher. Her husband, Justin, who also likes the area, found a job he thinks is challenging and is working at SureFire Electronics. The 29-year-old teacher noted there are multiple differences in agriculture when comparing Pennsylvania to Kansas. “There is more diversity in the crops back east,” Cristen said. “There you have nurseries, vegetable farms and the farms are much smaller.” Christmas trees were a cash crop in her area as opposed to the wide open fields of wheat, milo and corn, she said. But for her first major FFA project, Cristen and her classes are working on the state fair FFA booth that showcases the crops, including the wheat, milo and corn, in Rawlins County. “We are using some of the signs that we can roll over from last year,” she said. “The

MiLO: $7.50

Photo by Mary Holle

Cristen Black, the new Rawlins County High School ag teacher and FFA advisor presents one of the wheat bundles which will be used at the state fair FFA booth. kids have certain items they are bringing in.” Cristen said she likes teaching the shop classes the best as they are “hands-on and we are always doing something different.” Horticulture classes will include landscaping around the school area. “I want to try to get the kids to leave something behind so they can say, ‘I had something to do with that,’ when they come home,” Cristen said. Each of her students will also have to do a community-based project before they can begin working on an individual project.

See ‘Ag advisor,’ Page 2

CORN: $7.73


Just buzzing around