Summertime began in earnest, but the livin’ in Pratt County was anything but easy. The drought continued, SRS threatened to close the local office and small towns in the area faced the possible loss of their post offices. As was the case earlier in the year, the endings have not yet been written for many third-quarter stories.


Summertime began in earnest, but the livin’ in Pratt County was anything but easy. The drought continued, SRS threatened to close the local office and small towns in the area faced the possible loss of their post offices. As was the case earlier in the year, the endings have not yet been written for many third-quarter stories.

July

Pratt employees of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services were notified July 1 that the office would be closing and its caseload transferred to as-yet undecided office in the area. The reorganization process was to close nine service centers and merge six regions into four at an anticipated savings of $1million per year. City and county commissions agreed to pay $60,000 to the state to keep the office open.

The Pratt Presbyterian Church closed its parking lot to vendors, ending a long-standing Farmers Market tradition there. The market relocated to a lot on North Main owned by Deny Bowe and plans are underway for a possible move to the 300 block of South Main in a proposed city park.

A group of individuals calling themselves the Pratt Pilots Coalition objected to proposed construction of a 68-turbine wind farm in the county.

Even as construction continued on South Main Street, the City of Pratt began applying for grants to resurface North Main with concrete in the middle and bricks left in the parking lanes.

Sen. Ruth Teichman predicted that western Kansas would lose a representative in the redistricting effort that will be considered by the 2012 Kansas Legislature.

The Pratt County Fair attracted 4-H’ers, their families, spectators and carnival- and entertainment-goers to the hill south of Pratt in late July.

Pratt native Buford Johnson, who retired from a 30-year career with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department, was appointed as Pratt County undersheriff.

The United States Postal Service announced in late July that it was considering closing post offices at Sawyer, Sharon, Nashville, Isabel and Zenda. Offices at Coats and Iuka had been listed for closure study earlier. At the present time, operations at Coats are suspended, but possible closure of 3700 offices nationwide and consolidation of processing facilities is on hold until May.

Phase 2 of the Main Street project began, closing the 100 and 200 blocks, opening 400 and 500 blocks and leaving the 300 block in the middle closed throughout the process.

August

Tribune publisher Keith Lippoldt resigned and was replaced by Randy Mitchell, who is also publisher at GateHouse papers in Newton, Wellington and McPherson. Mitchell can be reached at publisher@pratttribune.com and is usually in Pratt on Thursdays. Lippoldt and wife Tammy returned to Colorado, to be closer to family.

The Pratt Public Library cut its hours to balance a budget that had previously benefited from interest on investments. With lower interest rates, Saturday hours were eliminated and weekday times were shortened.

Pratt Community College officials learned PCC and two other Kansas community colleges could share an additional $3.1 million as a result of a judgment in Shawnee County District Court. PCC, Cowley County Community College and Dodge City Community College sued the Kansas Board of Regents in 2009, claiming the formula used to determine technical education funding was different than that used for other schools offering similar courses.

The Pratt 86ers won the American Legion State Baseball Tournament for the second year in a row and headed north to Wisconsin for the regional tournament, where they placed fourth.

Pratt County was added to a list of disaster declarations by the United States Department of Agriculture. Fifty-two counties had already been declared drought disasters, making farmers eligible for emergency loans.

The Pratt Health Foundation received an $8,216 grant to open a free health clinic for low income adults without health insurance. The grant was less than half of the amount requested from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Pratt city and county commissions discussed the possible consolidation of law enforcement with no action taken.

The Blythe Fitness Center opened Aug. 20.

Relay for Life held its annual American Cancer Society fund-raiser Aug. 19-20.

Jerry Angood, a longtime Santa in the community and author of the Tribune’s Angood Day to You, died Aug. 21.

September

The Main Street construction project wrapped up ahead of schedule in early September. The event was marked with music and free food. Several merchants acknowledged a rough summer while their front doors were blocked, but said that extreme heat was also a factor in reduced traffic.

County commissioners passed a motion declaring a moratorium on the development of wind farms for the next four months, giving them time to adopt zoning regulations for the county. Foster and Associates has been hired to draft regulations.

Dry weather continued. Rainfall in the county was about half of average.

Pratt Internal Medicine Group welcomed Dr. Aaron Zook to its physician staff.

The Pratt City Commission approved a pair of ordinances requiring general and limited contractors operating within the city to obtain licenses. Current contractors are “grandfathered in.”

The Pratt Tribune launched its new tabloid format and three-day printing schedule on Sept. 27.