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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Wind and weather make the news

  • A wind energy developer is disappointed; another continues efforts to build in the county. Farmers were talking about the weather, and doing something about it — cutting wheat earlier than perhaps ever in history.
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  • April
    On his third attempt, Lucus Kumberg gained a seat on the Pratt City Commission, ousting incumbent Vic Graf. Voter turnout was about 22 percent for the single-issue ballot.
    The Kansas Department of Transportation announced an upgrade to K-61 predicted to last most of the summer. During the two stages of construction, access was limited and the roadway was narrowed to one lane in each direction.
    Pratt Community College rescinded a resolution to renew its 3-mil capital outlay levy following a successful petition to place the question on the ballot.
    Indeck Energy terminated leases for land when the Pratt County Commission refused to meet demands to rewrite whole sections of a proposed zoning ordinance relating to wind energy projects.
    The county agreed to some changes to facilitate wind energy development by BP Wind Energy in the southeast part of the county
    The Pratt City Commission gave approval for the development of a city park at Fourth and Main streets and provided an initial assistance package worth about $14,000, along with the promise of bricks salvaged from the 2011 Main Street resurfacing project.
    May
    Pratt gained two new businesses early in May: Leroy's Bar and Grill, operated by Levi Murray in the former Veterans of Foreign Wars post home, which has been privately owned for several years, and Crossroads, a women's and men's clothing store owned by Terri Siroky, in the first location of her popular Simply Southwest store.
    Music man Bob Bitter retired as band director of Skyline Schools. He previously led the Pratt High band and is responsible for its moniker, "The Pride of South Central Kansas."
    Pratt Regional Medical Center created a "Citizens for Improvement of Pratt Regional Medical Center to advocate for a successful vote on a sales tax issue for renovation and new construction.
    The USD 382 Board of Education approved a $664,000 artificial turf project at Zerger Field.
    The Pratt County Commission signed agreements with Chesapeake Oil to lease property at the landfill and Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake for horizontal oil drilling for $250 per acre and a 3/16 share of any producing oil well.
    County farmers began harvesting wheat in the third week of May, well before the usual second week of June. One of the mildest winters on record and the driest May since record keeping began caused the grain to mature early.
    June
    Federal judges redrew the Kansas Congressional map when legislators failed to reach agreement. By their action, Pratt County was moved from its historic home in the predominantly rural Big First, currently represented in Washington, D.C., by Tim Huelskamp, to the Fourth District represented by Mike Pompeo.
    Page 2 of 2 - Boundaries for state senate and representatives' districts were also redrawn, a change that Rep. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, termed "major surgery," instead of the tweaking he expected.
    Sloane Lewis, a graduate of Norwich High School and junior at Kansas University, was crowned Miss Kansas 2012.
    Pratt County law enforcement officers joined in an area-wide search for former county resident Robert Cook, who escaped June 16 from Winfield Correctional Facility, where he was serving 100 months for aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. Also missing from Winfield was Frank Crutchfield of Wichita. Cook was taken into custody without incident in Byers on June 25. Crutchfield was captured June 20 in Wichita.
    The United States Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act that will require most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty and extends cost-free preventive services, among other measures. Pratt Regional Medical Center anticipated little immediate impact to their operations, according to CEO Susan Page, the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians expressed its approval and Republican lawmakers took the opposite stance.
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