The county is adding a gypsum product to a county road north of Cullison to help reduce blowing sand.

By Gale Rose

A blowing sand issue on NW 100th Avenue should become less of a problem with the application of a gypsum product to mix with the sand. Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor, updated the Pratt County Commissioners on the progress of the application at their weekly meeting Monday, Nov. 13. The Commissioners met at 9:30 a.m. because they are attending a conference in Kansas City this week and would not be available for their regular 4 p.m. meeting.

The gypsum binds with the sand and helps prevent it from blowing. The product has been used on other roads and has held up really well, Freund said.

Tiffany Ailstock, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, is working on her Kansas Department of Transportation grant application for fiscal year 2019. The $58,400 plus grant helps her maintain public transportation services for the community.

Public Transportation services cover Pratt and can go out into the county and beyond. Ailstock said she has taken riders to Wichita and Hutchinson for medical visits. If people need to go out of town, they need to contact Ailstock at least 24 hours in advance. They request $50 for the long trips but they don't turn someone down if they can't pay.

From July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, public transportation carried 19,708 passengers a total of 45,132 miles. Taking people to and from work counts for 1,348 of those trips while 1,077 trips were for medical purposes. About 20 percent of the total number was for elderly passengers for 4,938 trips.

The Pratt Count Health Department will stop providing foot care services at the office. The staff member that does foot care is retiring and the newer staff is not trained for foot care, said Darcie VanDerVyver, director of Public Health.

When someone comes in for foot care, it ties up an exam room and a nurse and it limits the services they department can provide during that time.

Foot care is still available in Pratt. Hermes Health Care still comes to Pratt every six weeks and Jamie Ackerman at the Chop Shop hair stylist in Downtown Pratt also does foot care.

VanDerVyver said she is looking into getting a trailer to store items that are used for disasters that are currently kept in the basement of the Health Department. If those items are needed at some other location, it takes several trips in the Health Department vehicle to get the items, like extra cots, moved to where they are needed.

A lack of response concerning approval for using a water well in Cairo to refill water trucks in the event of a fire, has prompted Bob Schmisseur, Pratt County Counselor, to send a letter to Kirsten Baum, new water applications supervisor for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, requesting her to respond soon to the request that has been at her office for 90 days.

When approval is made, it will take from 30 to 45 days to finish electrical service to the well, set the pump and other practical issues before firefighters would have a chance to practice with the well and work out any issues. Schmisseur said Pratt County is about 60 days out from the next major fire season and having this well available will help firefighters be better prepared in case of a fire situation.