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Pratt County receives donation of respirators and masks

Gale Rose
Protective N95 masks, which are currently scarce in supply mid coronavirus.

The Pratt County supply of masks and respirators has increased thanks to a foundation donation.

The county received a shipment of respirators and 940 KM95 masks last week. The masks were made available though the Patterson Family Foundation. These masks are not rated for health care workers but can be used for city and county workers or schools, said Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom at the May 11 county commission meeting.

Regular work in all county departments continues throughout the county. Workers are repairing the warning siren that serves the area around Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Funding for repairs came from an emergency management special equipment fund, according to Branscom.

Branscom presented proposed budgets for Planning and Zoning and for Emergency Management. Amounts requested are the same as last year.

Pratt County Attorney Tracey Beverlin said plans are still being developed for handling court cases when the court house reopens. No testimony cases are on the docket for now but there are first appearances and misdemeanor cases.

“Action needs to be taken because cases and jury trials are piling up,” Beverlin said.

Dash cam and body cam data is now being sent through the cloud and into a shared folder, Beverlin reported. Attorneys can retrieve the information through a link. Juvenile cases are done with Zoom meetings. For now, court cases are on hold and waiting for whatever the new normal will be, Beverlin said.

County Counselor Tyson Eisenhauer said courthouse operation meetings among Public Health Director Darci Van Der Vyver, District Judge Frank Meisenheimer and Chief Judge William Mott and with Dr. Cannata are continuing. They would like to have a plan in place when the next set of the governor’s reopening plans take effect. It would help the court to make the transition as soon they can. They also need to have plans in place if the transition to the next level doesn’t take place.

There could be screening done at the courthouse entrance and the will probably do screening of their own. The courthouse could technically open but the doors could still be locked to protect the court staff, Eisenhauer said.

The commissioners will make the decision as to when the courthouse will open and employees will resume working the case load.

In other business, commissioners:

* Discussed a Kansas Department of Transportation grant to help pay for paving a section of NE. 20th Avenue beside the proposed public safety facility. The county will ask for support letters from economic development, City of Pratt, Pratt Regional Medical Center and from Reno and Barton counties to be sent with the application.

The county is looking at paying 65 percent with the KDOT grant covering 35 percent of the quarter mile long project. The more the county is willing to pay, the better the chances of getting the grant, said commissioner Glenna Borho. Estimated cost of the paving project is $283,000

* Heard that driver’s license exams are starting by appointment only at the treasurers office, scheduling number to call is 672-4116. Eisenhauer said exams would continue as long as it doesn’t create chaos in the hallway. At times there are 30 people waiting to renew or get licenses. A lot of the renewal process can be done online, Eisenhauer said.

* Were told that new mowers have arrived and have been attached to tractors. Mowing was delayed because of the rain but resumed after it dried out, according to Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor.

* Learned that several asphalt projects are ready and will start when the asphalt arrives, probably at the end of May.

* Heard that community service workers are ready to resume their duties of cleaning at the courthouse. To start with, cleaning will be limited to outside work and all workers will wear masks. Community Service Coordinator Nancy Smith said there was too much risk for exposure inside the courthouse for now.

* Noted that the recycle center is open again so workers can resume recycling for the jail. The recyclables are place at a door to be picked up so they don’t make direct contact.