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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Fourth quarter constructive

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  • Construction workers were busy during the ifnal quarter. Hospital renovation continues; the Vernon Filley Art Museum is closed in and roofed, in anticipation of an opening early in 2014; utilities were installed in the Sandy Creek Addition; a street project was completed on North Main; and other construction projects were underway around town.
    October
    Traffic was rerouted for a street upgrade in the 100 block of North Main that replaced brick with concrete curb to curb in the first 40 feet, to better serve traffic turning from U.S. 54, and through the middle of the street the rest of the way, leaving bricks at the curb.
    Most Prattans are familiar with the Pratt County Food Bank, but there is another non-profit serving the food needs of people who find their resources don't stretch far enough. Bread of Life organizers said their goal is to "pick up where they (the food bank) have to stop."
    The federal government launched its online health insurance marketplace with less than stellar success. The website has been overhauled but people still report difficulties signing up and the Affordable Health Care Act is still a contentious topic.
    A partial shutdown of the federal government interrupted some but not all federal services.
    More than 600 college rodeo participants, their families and friends came to town for the annual Pratt Community College rodeo early in October.
    County commissioners put their stamp of approval on the BP Wind Energy application to establish a wind farm.
    City crews and private contractors worked to install utilities at the Sandy Creek Addition. The price of lots will be established early in 2014.
    The Pratt Area Economic Development Board was placed under the leadership of the City of Pratt in a joint meeting of city and county leaders. The action takes effect at the beginning of 2014. The Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce was faced with restructuring the executive director position to replace Jan Scarbrough, who submitted her resignation in late summer.
    The county's oldest church, Iuka United Methodist, celebrated its 135th birthday.
    The Skyline Board of Education, after several months of discussion, said that baseball and softball could not be added to the school's activities.
    Construction began on Cummins Country Care, a home-plus model for senior care that is gaining in popularity, but still relatively unknown in rural Kansas.
    Former Prattan Patrick Watts was charged in Enid, Okla., with 21 counts of child sexual abuse.
    November
    The Pratt Police Department was infected with a computer virus, but assured the public that information had not been compromised.
    A remodeling project was underway at the old Ninnescah Apartments, built early in the 20th century as a hospital. The refurbished building will be known as Tan Oak Apartments.
    Page 2 of 2 - For several years, Pratt County had generated some additional revenue by housing prisoners from other areas. In November, for the first time, the county sent prisoners to Ford County because of overcrowding of the jail here.
    Nancy Smith became the community services coordinator for Pratt County, filling a position left vacant for several weeks by the resignation of Peggy Lee.
    Prattans remembered the assassination of President John Kennedy 50 years ago, on Nov. 22, 1963.
    The Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce presented Distinguished Business awards to Rolla Rena and Southwest Truck Parts, Inc.
    Pratt Energy applied for a property tax exemption that could extend for the next 10 years. Pratt County commissioners took a tour of the plant, which, according to plant management, required $18 million in start-up improvements and employs about 35 people. A decision is expected in 2014.
    Area elevators reported that fall harvest was better than previous years, boosted by ample supplies of rainfall during the summer.
    December
    Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison confirmed that some jobs at the headquarters in Pratt were being moved to Topeka, while other vacancies remained unfilled. He termed the job loss in Pratt as "a handful." Local leaders, however, believe it is a situation that bears watching.
    According to the latest Kids Count figures, about 400 Pratt County children live in poverty.
    Exemptions from the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act that allows people licensed to carry concealed weapons to bring them into public buildings neared expiration, and the county and city both opted to develop security plans to keep the prohibition of weapons in place.
    The Compton Addition south of the Walmart store was rezoned, creating four commercial lots along Fincham Drive and classifying the remainder for multi-family dwellings. City Manager Dave Howard expects the City Commission will consider a contract to sell three of the four commercial lots in 2014.
    Bids were being sought for an addition to the agriculture power technology building on the Pratt Community College campus.
    A house fire in the 600 block of South Hamilton claimed the lives of 23-month-old twins, Jayce and Jasper Ibarra. The children were the sons of Ramon and Destry Ibarra. The office of the Kansas Fire Marshal has been working to determine a cause of the fire. Information has not yet been released.

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