A special increasing family, a new solar farm and a fundraiser for a new theater complex were part of the story in the second quarter of 2018.

April, May and June brought several notable events into the Pratt area. Some of the biggest stories of the second quarter of 2018 included a family finding new members, the potential addition of a movie theater, a construction start on a city solar farm and a lady who cuts hair, but has a fiery passion for running long distances. Here’s a look at what happened, in chronological order.

Family complete

It’s a love story. For Tate and Meriam Thompson of Pratt, their love reached out to four foster children who are siblings. On April 23, at the Pratt County Courthouse, the adoption of Kimberly Allen- Thompson 18, Keishaune 14, Ke’Rel 13 and Keimarla 11 became final. They join Hogan 15, Jadyn 13, and Tiger 9 to make the family complete.

At the adoption, that took about 20 minutes, the Thompson’s lawyer Julie Haas introduced the family to the judge and gave the case numbers. Tate was asked to testify and said that the family was good, moral, upstanding and could take care of the children. Having to testify came as a surprise to the Thompsons but everything went well and the judge signed the paperwork making the adoption official. “They were ready after the first meeting to come stay with us,” Thompson said.

Kimberly, Keishaune, Ke’Rel and Keimarla came to live with the Thompson’s as foster children on July 7, 2017. Once the children met, the transition was pretty minimal. When they came to stay with the Thompsons, it felt like they were already part of the family. It just felt right.

Now that the adoption is final, the family is moving on to new adventures.

Cinema is coming

Since December 2013 and the closing of the Barron Theatre downtown Pratt, a group of local citizens has been working behind the scenes to bring back the theatre experience one might find in other cities. Pratt Community Theatre, Inc. is finally ready to announce the coming of a new 4plex theatre.

In 2015, Pratt Area Economic Development Corporation funded studies regarding the viability of a multi-screen, state-of-the- art, first-run movie theatre being built in Pratt. Those reports were a feasibility study and a business plan. Meetings were held with potential management companies, visits were made to other new theaters in communities of comparable size to Pratt. Then the Pratt Community Theatre, Inc. board, a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, was formed in August 2016 with original members Keller, Porter Loomis, Rodney Lesh, Terry Arnett and Dale Withers. Since that beginning Chanielle Thibault has replaced Rodney Lesh on the board and Glenna Borho has volunteered to serve as an assistant to the board and chair fund-raising efforts.

The new theatre will consist of four auditoriums, each with a 40’ wide X 24’ high screen and state of the art digital projection equipment and sound system. Total seating capacity of the entire theatre is approximately 380 people, including handicap accessible seating. The parking lot will be on three sides of the theatre to accommodate guests. A large concession stand and plentiful restroom facilities will be an added convenience for everyone. It will not be a dual purpose theatre for other uses, as is the Twilight Theatre in Greensburg. The Pratt theatre will be for movies only.

Construction for solar farm begin

On June 9, 2018, Mayor of Pratt Doug Meyer announced that the construction of a solar farm to provide the city with electricity was underway. Located on the eastern edge of the city, the Pratt Solar Farm is scheduled for completion sometime in January 2019. The solar farm will be able to supply enough electricity to pow- er 10,000 homes.

Hair stylist stays race ready

Pratt hair stylist Jodi Strohl has a running start on probably 99 percent of the residents within the City of Pratt, and maybe even in the whole county. A wall of ribbon trophies at her 54-Plaza Mall salon “All That Hair” attest to her enthusiasm and successes as a seasoned marathon runner.

Strohl’s been running for 18 years. She got into the rigorous sport because she wanted to lose the “baby weight” and that was the solution offered in an article in Shape Magazine. The headline, “If You Want to Lose Baby Weight, Start Running,” set her on a path and opened her world to new horizons.

Strohl acknowledged that she’s “OCD about numbers!” These are some of the number tallies in her racing history: She’s completed: four full marathons, with a best time of four hours and 12 minutes; 56 half-marathons, best time one hour, 51 minutes; ten 10K runs, best time 51 minutes and nine seconds; and 40 5K runs, best time 25 minutes and 40 seconds.

Support of her family members gives Strohl encouragement. Sometimes her husband Kevin, a heavy-equipment operator for Kansas Gas, not only accompanies her, but also participates. She recalled that they both ran in a half-marathon event in Hawaii.