The long awaited — or dreaded — reconstruction of South Main began, limiting access to businesses’ front doors during a summer that was already shaping up to be a hot one. Pratt hosted the Miss Kansas and Miss Outstanding Teen Kansas pageants. A 1950-era elementary school closed its doors, but plans were in the works for its reopening as a center of learning.


The long awaited — or dreaded — reconstruction of South Main began, limiting access to businesses’ front doors during a summer that was already shaping up to be a hot one. Pratt hosted the Miss Kansas and Miss Outstanding Teen Kansas pageants. A 1950-era elementary school closed its doors, but plans were in the works for its reopening as a center of learning.

April

Bill Hlavachick retained his seat on the Pratt City Commission and Karen Detwiler unseated Willy Peltier at the April 5 election.

Former Pratt County Treasurer Donna Shelite was appointed as the director of the Division of Vehicles for the Kansas Department of Revenue.

BTI held a grand opening of its new facility at the Pratt Regional Airport Industrial Park.

Pratt Community College men’s basketball Coach Trevor Rolfs announced his resignation to become athletic director at Barton County Community College. A few days later, Patrick Hall, head volleyball coach, revealed that he would also head north to BCCC. Ron Hill stepped down as softball coach in May, and accepted a position as teacher for USD 382’s GATE (gifted and talented education) program. Wrestling coach Josh Carroll resigned in June.

The barricades came down and traffic began moving on both sides of U.S. 54 near Cunningham. The next phase of the project is slated to begin in January, in Kingman County.

Construction began on a new water line in advance of resurfacing five blocks of Main Street in the summer.

Pratt Community College partnered with the Urban League of Kansas to deliver a mostly-online nursing curriculum in Wichita.

May

Hundreds of students, teachers and former students and teachers gathered for a picnic to remember their time at the Mattie O. Haskins School that closed at the end of the school year.

 The South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative submitted an offer to buy the building and relocate its Iuka Learning Center to Pratt. The offer was accepted by the USD 382 Board of Education.

Storm chasers in their Tornado Intercept Vehicle hung out in Pratt on May 11 and other days when the threat of tornado was high. Nothing very serious materialized locally, although a downburst on May 19 turned over some irrigation systems. A tornado claimed the lives of two Stafford County residents when a tree fell on their car.

In response to a cut in state aid, Pratt Community College Board of Trustees approved a reduction in force involving nine staff members to save $361,000 in payroll costs.

Pratt High baseball and softball teams both advanced to state tournaments for the first time in history.

June

Too much trash and too little room prompted an expansion project at the Pratt County Landfill. Nearly 15 tons are brought to the landfill each day.

After months of planning, the Main Street resurfacing project began June 3 with demolition in the 500, 400 and south half of the 300 blocks. Bricks from the first demolition phase were piled at the old landfill, free to all takers, and there were plenty of takers. The first stretch of pavement was poured early in July.

The Miss Kansas and Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen contestants moved into Pratt for activities leading to the crowning of two new titleholders. Caitlin Webb, competing as Miss Manhattan, won the teen title. Carissa Kelley, Winfield, was named Miss Kansas in her one and only shot at the crown. She would have been too old to compete in the 17-24 pageant next year.

Wheat harvest began in early June, with farmers reporting surprisingly good test weights, considering the county received only two inches of precipitation in the first four months. In spite of dire predictions, yields ranged from 30 bushels per acre to 50, and in some cases higher, local elevator managers said as the harvest wound down later in the month.

Pratt County Commissioners approved a resolution making Pratt County a Rural Opportunity Zone. The statewide program is intended to spur population growth with an income tax abatement and repayment of a portion of student loans for new Kansans.

A construction project was underway at Southwest Elementary School, enlarging the school to accommodate all of Pratt’s elementary students after the closing of Haskins School.

The Pratt Police Department upgraded its vehicles with half-cages for prisoners and video cameras to document actions during police stops.

United Methodist churches in Cullison and Byers held worship services for the last time on June 27.

Stanion Wholesale Electric added wind generators to its product line and put up a turbine of its own, to provide a portion of energy needs for the business and serve as a demonstration.

The drought that plagued Kansas and much of the Southwest was termed “exceptional” in south central Kansas, including Pratt County, with precipitation at 43 percent of normal for the first six months and temperatures already soaring over 100 degrees.