Butler County Candidate Forum

Primary Elections August 2, 2020

Butler County Farm Bureau Association (BCFBA) in partnership with the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce held their 2022 Primary Election Candidate Forum at the El Dorado Civic Center on Wednesday, July 27th. The event was free and open to the public.

In attendance were:

Doug Blex, State House Rep., District 12

Will Carpenter, State House Rep., District 75

Patrick Penn, State House Rep., District 85

Chuck Schmidt, State House Rep., District 88

Steve Fellers, Butler County, District 4

Vince Haines, Butler County, District 4

Darren Jackson, Butler County, District 4

Sasha Islam, Butler County, District 5

Dan Woydziak, Butler County, District 5

Kansas State House Representatives, from left to right, Chuck Schmidt, District 88; Will Carpenter, District 75; and Doug Blex, District 12
The Forum moderators, left to right, Jeff Varner, the Policy Chair for BCFBA and Phil Benedict, Executive Director of El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the Forum Timer, Tiya Tonn with the BCFBA.

Following the welcome and introductions, State House Representatives were given 5 minutes each to provide a public statement.

Candidates for County Commissioner were given 3 minutes each to make a prepared statement and 2 minutes each to answer questions after which each candidate was allowed 2 minutes each to make closing statements.

Butler County Commissioner Candidates, left to right, Steve Fellers, District 4, Darren Jackson, District 4, Vince Haines District 4, Dan Woydziak, District 5 and Sasha Islam, District 5.

Following the Forum, candidates were available for 30 minutes to answer questions from the public.

Left to right, Candidates Darren Jackson and Vince Haines meet with the public following the Forum.
Steve Fellers, center, and Rep. Check Schmidt, right, visit with members of the public.

The Primary Election will be on Tuesday, August 2nd and sample ballots can be reviewed online by visiting https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/ 

ELDO Kids Week

July 18-22, 2022

The week-long summer event was sponsored by Experience El Dorado, the YMCA and HF Sinclair and offered fun for the whole family.

“We had a great turnout for our events and are pleased with how this first Kids Week went,” said Javan Gonzalez, Destination Services Coordinator with the City of El Dorado’s Experience El Dorado. 

“Movie Monday” was held at Central 6 Cinema with a free showing of “Minions: The Rise Of Gru.”

High Fives for the Walnuts

“Baseball Tuesday” was at McDonald Stadium with a game between the El Dorado Walnuts versus the Winfield Moos and included games and activities.

Cooling off

“Swim Wednesday” offered a welcomed break from the heat with free swimming at the El Dorado Municipal Pool.

Learning and fun go hand in hand at the museum.

“Museum Thursday” at the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum included a host of educational activities.

“Friday Night Lights” rounded out the week at North Main Park with fun games and activities including the Splash Pads. 

“We couldn’t have provided all of these great, free events without the help and generosity of our partners, HF Sinclair and the YMCA,” said Gonzalez. “They were great to work with and helped put on a wonderful week for the kids in El Dorado. We want to thank everyone who volunteered, donated and attended the events.”

Vote No Rally 

A “Vote No” rally to oppose the proposed amendment known as “Value Them Both” was held along North Main Street at North Main Park in El Dorado, on Sunday, June 26th following the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Protestors, with signs and chanting “This is what democracy looks like” and “Vote No,” stood on both sides of North Main Street at North Main Park to protest the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The rally was organized by Suzanne Scribner and was attended by both men and women, and counted registered Democrats, Republicans and Independents in their number.  They all stood together in bipartisan unison to have their voices heard and called for a “NO” vote against the “Value Them Both” proposition that will be on Kansas ballots on August 2nd.

The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution will be decided by Kansas voters during the primary election held on that date.

“We need to show that there are people in Butler County, Kansas, who are upset and we’re not going to be quiet,” said Scribner. 

Women’s healthcare and access to health care in the state of Kansas is top of mind for a group of young women who attended the rally.

“We’re here supporting women’s reproductive rights,” said one person who asked to remain anonymous.  “My boss is avidly “vote yes” and I don’t want to risk losing my job.”

“I’m here to protect the right and fight for the right for myself, my daughter, for every woman,” said Hali Stevenson. She attended the rally with her husband and their new born son. 

“It’s unbelievable that it’s 2022 and we haven’t progressed to a state of equality,” said Stevenson. “For me it’s about removing beliefs from the equation. “

“Not everyone in the United States in Christian.  Not everyone believes the propaganda that is being pushed,” she said.  “It’s important to raise my voice for choice and make it about the beliefs of everyone and not a select few.”

“Pro-choice is an important thing to keep as a human right,” said Linda Swan.  She was joined at the rally by her husband Mike Swan. 

“I think the repercussions of this are dangerous,” said Mike Swan. “It was a hard-fought for right. The makeup of the court now was convoluted and it’s dangerous going forward with some other issues.  I’m very upset about that,” he said. 

Rally attendee, Debbie Hill shared her own personal story. “I had a miscarriage once and it was the most extreme pain I’ve ever been through,” she said. 

“I almost had to force the doctor to perform the D&C,” said Hill.  “Without a “No” vote, we will not have access to that procedure. We have to vote no.”  

El Dorado Ambassadors Shine

Butler County Represented at Miss Kansas

Gorgeous weather in Pratt, last week, provided the perfect backdrop for Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss El Dorado (who serves the Miss America Organization as Miss Butler County); Suzannah Bowden, Miss Golden Road, (who serves as Miss Ruby Slippers); and Jordan Burford Miss Sunflower Fest, (who serves as Miss Heartland) to participate in the Miss Kansas Scholarship Competition.

Left to right: Suzannah Bowden, Sierra Marie Bonn and Jordan Burford

They were each awarded $1,500 for reaching the Miss Kansas stage. 

The week began as they checked in to Miss Kansas Week on Tuesday, June 7th and hit the ground running with a welcome ceremony that included the announcement of the Top 5 Finalists for the Social Impact Initiative (SII) Scholarship.

Social Impact Initiative Top 5 Finalists (from left to right) are Suzannah Bowden, Courtney Wages, Sierra Marie Bonn, Jetta Smith and Katelyn Andrist.

Congratulations are in order to Bonn who earned another $1,000 for her SII work on “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” and Bowden who earned another $500 for her SII work on “Mentoring the Next.”

They spent the first full day in rehearsals and meeting sponsors.  Wednesday brought more rehearsals, sponsor visits and the Private Interview portion of the competition.  During the interview with the judges they were able to share their heart and passion for their Community Service and the impact they have made through their SII.

Thursday brought another full day of rehearsals, sponsor visits and Preliminary Night One, which showcased the young women’s strengths on stage with Social Impact Pitch and On Stage Question, Talent Performance and Red Carpet Wear.  Each of the categories allowed the women to express their unique personal style and confidence in the Pratt Community College arena to a few hundred people. 

From left to right: Sierra Marie Bonn, Kennedy Bables, Kaydence Dawson, and Madelyn Olson.

Friday, June 10th brought another full day of rehearsals and Preliminary Night Two and the official check-in for our Sunflower Princesses. Kennedy Bables, Kaydence Dawson, Madelyn Olson and Juliana Burford represented El Dorado this year and their enthusiasm and encouragement was contagious as they cheered on the girls.

Juliana Buford joined her sister Jordan during Miss Kansas Week.

They started the day receiving their crowns and swag. They participated in mentoring sessions, a paint party, pizza party and ended their day by watching the girls on-stage. 

Sierra was awarded the $1,000 Esther Scholarship and earned another $750 in cash for her fundraising and recruiting work.

Sierra Marie Bonn signing autographs during an event prior to the parade.  Her costume and shoes promoted her social impact initiative “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” as well as highlighting the Kansas Tourism motto, “To The Stars”

Saturday is always filled with fun events and this year was no different.  First up was an autograph signing session followed by the Show Us Your Shoes parade downtown. 

Suzannah Bowden was dressed in a blue gingham with red rhinestone shoes to showcase her title of Miss Ruby Slippers.
Jordan Burford decorated her shoes and costume with butterflies to help bring awareness to her social impact initiative, “Raising Awareness For Child Loss”

The afternoon was filled with more rehearsals in preparation for the final competition while the Sunflowers had a skate party and tour of the Pratt County Historical Museum.

During Finals, the Sunflowers had their special runway show and a pajama viewing party. In total, Jordan, Suzannah and Sierra earned almost $8,000 in scholarships to continue their educational pursuits. 

Kaydance Dawson and Kennedy Bables in their Sunflower Princess crowns and t-shirts during the parade.

“The Miss El Dorado Ambassadors are so appreciative of the sponsors and supporters of the program.  Their support enables young women from our community to develop personal and professional skills, pursue their education and in turn, reinvest in our community through various initiatives and community service projects,” said Bonn.  

Please contact the Miss El Dorado Ambassadors to learn how you or your organization can help support the Miss El Dorado Ambassadors. 

Spring Tea

Augusta Historical Society Fundraiser

Set against the backdrop of a bright sunny, blue sky, the Augusta Historical Society held their annual Spring Tea fundraiser on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th inside the historic C.N. James cabin.

C.N. James Cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This was the first time the event has been held since the pandemic began in 2020.

Tables were decorated by volunteers with their own personal china, linens and handkerchiefs to accompany the theme of “Grandmother’s Handkerchief.”  

Tables were decorated in the theme: Grandmothers’ Handkerchief.

The guests were dressed in florals and many wore hats for the festive occasion dined on finger sandwiches, and an array of desserts along with tea from the Spice Merchant.

Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Butler County, welcomed guests and visited with them during the tea on Saturday.

      “We’ve been doing this for 25 years and we’re so excited to be back again,” said Priscilla Templin, Executive Director of the Augusta Historical Society and Museum. 

Priscilla Templin, Executive Director of the Augusta Historical Society, right, with Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn.

The Haas family has been attending the tea party for 20 years and was glad for the event to return.

Chris Haas, left, enjoyed tea with her family. Pictured right is Ashley Haas.

“We first came when my daughters were 4 and 6,” said Chris Haas, mother to Abby, 24 and Ashley, 26. 

They, along with Chris’ mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece have made the tea party an annual girls’ day ever since.

Funds raised through the Spring Tea will contribute to the overall goal of $40,000 needed to restore the C.N. James Cabin.

C.N. James Cabin estoration fundraising goal is $40,000

The cabin was built in 1868 by Chester (C.N.) James and his wife Augusta. The cabin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is one of only two log cabins on its original site in the State of Kansas. It is the oldest building in Augusta and one of the oldest landmarks in Butler County.