The Pratt County Commission has passed a resolution that creates tobacco-free playground areas where children are present.

By Gale Rose

In the interest of protecting children and adults from the harmful affects of cigarette smoke, the Pratt County Commissioners, in a unanimous vote March 12, passed a resolution that playground areas where children are present, including the Pratt County Veteran's Memorial Lake, be designated tobacco-free. The use of any tobacco product or electronic cigarette is now prohibited.

The resolution calls for appropriate signage to delineate the tobacco-free areas. The Sheriff's Office has been charged to enforce the resolution and fines can be given.

Violation of the resolution will result in the following penalties: First violation-$25 fine plus court costs; Second violation (within one calendar year)-$100 fine plus court costs; Third and subsequent violations (within one calendar year)-$250 plus court costs.

While smoking in playground areas is prohibited, there are new activities on the horizon for the lake.

Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor, is investigating adding paddle boats for an additional lake activity. An additional kayak is also under consideration. There were 19 kayak rentals in the 2017 season and Freund is evaluating the cost and changes needed to add a kayak and start paddle boat rentals.

Paddle boats run about $470 while kayaks are $180. If the additional activities are approved, it will require more storage space to house the kayak and paddle boat plus it will require a full time person to take rental fees and help people get the craft into and out of the water, Freund said.

"We're definitely looking at storage and manpower," Freund said.

An additional building would not have electricity or water. It would just be a place to store the boats. Finding the help to take charge of the rentals could be an issue.

Rentals would be Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Commissioners wanted more time to consider the addition and took no action on the matter.

Jason Winkel, county landfill manager, said an employee had accidentally damaged a car with the forklift at the recycle center. Only the vehicle was hit and no people were injured.

Work continues on cleaning out the leachate pit. About half the pit is finished. Winkel said they would have to put about three feet of fill back in to get the pit level correct.

Fresh asphalt has been applied to an access road in the landfill.

John Deere is replacing a turbo on a grader unit and wear plates will also be replaced.

Tim Branscom, county Emergency Manager, said the county already has a contract with Central Power Systems and Services to service three generators that has another year on the contract for the health department, the courthouse and the EMS building. Continuing the service would cost the county $1,154 per year. The commissioners took no action on extending the contract but will discuss it at a later meeting.

Bill Hampton, county fire and rescue chief, presented a request to replace the engine in Rescue One. The Commissioners had two bids, one from Morgan Diesel and one from Main Street Auto for the project. The Commissioners approved the $17, 847 bid from Main Street Auto to put in a Jasper engine. It will take about four days to get the engine and from four to six days to complete the installation.

Darci VanDerVyver, director of Public Health, said the new Electronic Women, Infants and Children system went on-line last week and the clients really liked the new system.

The health department is looking at a new shingles vaccination that requires two doses but is 90 percent effective even at age 90. VanDerVyver said most insurance should cover the cost of the vaccine.

The Health Department bought smoke detectors and gave them to the Pratt Fire Department to give out the public. The Health Department also has weather radios available at their office.