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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Tragedies mar 2013 third quarter

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  • The third quarter was marked by tragedies, including a murder and two fatality accidents. Weather was still in the news, with a month's worth of rain in the first week of August. The long-running debate on a proposed wind farm came to a close, at least temporarily, and the long-idle ethanol plant began producing fuel.
    July
    Kansas sales tax dropped from 6.3 to 6.15 percent, instead of 5.7 percent as promised, when a temporary hike was enacted to balance the state budget in 2010. Local taxes bring the total to 8.65 percent in the city and 7.9 percent in the county.
    The city purchased new storm sirens and promised to test less often and for a shorter duration.
    Many Prattans celebrated the Fourth of July at Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake. The American Legion Riders sponsored a fireworks display at dusk.
    Tim Barker announced that his family would close the Barron Theatre later in the summer, citing the expense of converting to digital format as well as family issues. A grassroots group held a meeting to discuss ways of saving the area's only theater showing first-run movies, but to date, a solution has not been found.
    The Pratt County Fair was held in mid-July, with a theme of "party 'til the cows come home."
    Dr. Scott Gordon joined the South Central Kansas Bone and Joint Center as a foot and ankle surgeon.
    Bryant Seba, 21, was arrested on July 24 and charged with the death of 22-year-old Alexandria Duran and her unborn child and shooting Brandon Wright four times in the back following an argument in the 100 block of North Ninnescah. Seba is scheduled to appear in district court in late January and is expected to make a plea at that time.
    Dr. Michael Calvert, with 30 years of experience in the community college system, was named president of Pratt Community College.
    August
    Drake Evert, 16, of Preston, was killed in a one-vehicle accident Aug. 3. More than 400 fellow Pratt High students, staff, friends and family honored him at a memorial service at Green Sports Complex.
    The month began with heavy rains that continued for several days, flooding fields, roads and Preston Co-op and delaying construction projects. Conference rooms in the basement at Pratt Regional Medical Center suffered substantial damage. Winds reported at up to 100 miles per hour caused some damage, primarily in the northwest part of the county. Pratt County had around $100,000 in damages, much of it to electrical services, according to Emergency Manager Tim Branscom.
    Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen Kristen Boxman won a preliminary lifestyle and fitness award at the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, Fla., a first for Kansas.
    The Pratt County Relay for Life raised approximately $30,500 for cancer research in the annual event.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pratt Internal Medicine Group expanded its staff of physicians to five, with the addition of Dr. Rachael Hauser to the staff.
    Three Pratt juveniles were arrested in connection with a series of burglaries around town.
    County Attorney Ken Van Blaricum reported a significant increase in drug-related cases, with 60 cases having been filed in the first eight months.
    Hope Center, a non-profit outgrowth of the Pratt County Ministers Association, secured a home, when Dr. Carson Hopkins offered the use of a building he owns at 314 S. Main for the next four years. With a goal of coordinating access to resources, board members expect an official opening early in 2014. Agape Health Clinic has already moved in and held its December clinic in the new location.
    September
    Pratt County was the scene of another double-fatality vehicle accident when a pickup crashed into a water tanker in the U.S. 54 construction zone. The two occupants of the pickup were from Texas.
    Pratt Energy began the startup phase to ethanol production at the plant northeast of Pratt. Plant officials said in early December that production was at 100 percent of capability.
    Pratt Regional Medical Center and the Surgicenter welcomed Dr. Luis Espinoza as a gynecology surgeon.
    The Pratt County Commission, acting on a recommendation from the planning board, approved an application by BP Wind Energy to go forward with plans to build a wind farm in southeast Pratt County. BP has up to three years to meet additional requirements before beginning construction.
    Rich Sanders, broker and owner of Sanders Agency, confirmed that the housing market in Pratt is "very tight." Rental housing was nearly 100 percent occupied and there were less than 50 houses offered for sale, when he would expect 100 to 120 at a given time.
    The Pratt Community Concert Association began its 75th year of bringing quality live music to area residents.
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