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Kansas Honor Flight Donation Honors WW2 Veteran Howard Cool

On Tuesday, July 9th family and friends of WWII Veteran Howard Cool gathered in front of the Butler County Freedom Memorial to present a check to the Kansas Honor Flight.

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On hand for the presentation were, from left to right, Lois Cool, Brad Cool, Marla Lopeman, Lloyd Van Dever, Herb Duncan and Jo Ann Duncan.

The funds, in the amount of $4,000, were raised through donations and memorials given in honor of Howard Cool.  

Mr. Cool was a Marine stationed at the Atoll Islands during WWII and had the privilege of flying aboard a Kansas Honor Flight to Washington D.C., with his son Brad.  According to Howard’s daughter, Marla Lopeman, “When they came back, they were changed.”  

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Herb Duncan and Jo Ann Duncan (center and right) with the Kansas Honor Flight and Lloyd Van Dever (left) the Butler County Kansas Honor Flight Coordinator, were on hand to accept the check.

 Through the Kansas Honor Flight, veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam are provided an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to visit their war memorial.  The funds provided in honor of Mr. Cool will provide for almost 5 Kansas veterans to make the journey.  

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American Legion Post 81 members, joined Lois Cool at the presentation.  Howard was a long time member of Unit 81 in El Dorado.

To learn more about the Kansas Honor Flight program visit www.KansasHonorFlight.org 

 

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USD 490 2019-2020 Board Appointments

While certainly not a new face at the USD 490 BOE meetings, Superintendent Teresa Tosh has been attending meetings since she was hired earlier this year.  However, this was her first monthly board meeting since assuming the helm from Sue Givens who retired at the end of June.  

During the meeting Kimberly Koop, Director of Information Services was recognized by the board for the BG Stadium Annual Report she submitted.  The report earned a National School Public Relations Award.  

Actions taken by the Board included the Reorganization of the Board of Education for 2019-2020.  A resolution to extend terms of current officers of the board was approved, as were board appointments. 

Those appointments were: 

Melissa Smith was appointed Clerk of the Board and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson was appointed Assistant Clerk of the Board

Director of Human Resources Lynda Sharp and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson as KPERS Representatives

Wendy McAdoo as Board Treasurer for the 2019-2020 School Year 

Melissa Smith as District Food Service Program Representative

Kathy Robertson as Hearing Officer for Free and Reduced Meal Application Appeals

DeAnna Pierce, Elementary Assistant Principal as Local Consolidated Plan Coordinator

Norm Wilks as KASB Governmental Relations Representative

Heather Nichols as Representative to the Special Education Cooperative Board

Vicki Coash as the Ex Officio Representative to Partners in Education Foundation Board of Directors. 

Superintendent Teresa Tosh as the District Freedom of Information Officer

Director of Information Services Kim Koop as District Records Custodian

Norm Wilks and Tom Storrer as Board Representatives on the 2019-2020 Negotiations Team.

Tom Storrer to serve on the District Leadership Team for 2019-2020

Norm Wilks and Monty Hughey to serve on the Educational Facility Authority of Butler County for 2019-2020, with Tom Storrer as an alternate

2019-2020 School Site Councils Representatives:

Skelly Elementary School—Vicki Coash

Blackmore Elementary School— Sharon Waugh

Grandview Elementary School— Monty Hughey

El Dorado Middle School—Heather Nichols 

With the 2019-2020 school year beginning on Tuesday, August 13the for grades PreK-6 and 9 and Wednesday, August 14th for grades 7, 8, and 10-12, walk-in enrollment begins on August 5th.  New Teacher Orientation will be held that day as well and an all-staff meeting will be conducted on August 6th.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, July 29th at the DIstrict Office.  

 

NLRB Hears Allegations Against SBA

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held a hearing at the Butler County Judicial Center involving charges made against Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital by former employees, Lori R. Dashner and Gay Kimble.

 The NLRB was created in 1935 by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the law that governs relations between labor unions and employers whose operations involve interstate commerce. 

Dashner and Kimble, who were terminated within an hour of one another, claim they were illegally terminated and they were fired as a result of “Concerted Activities.” 

Alan Rupe, attorney for Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital (SBA), noted in his opening statements that some of the employee activities fell under protected concerted activities.  However, he added the employees were not terminated for those activities. 

In an official statement released by SBA, they contend the employees were terminated as a result of safety and security breaches.  

“Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital maintains that it operated within the guidelines of the National Labor Relations Act. All personnel decisions are made with the intent to protect the safety of the patients and employees at SBA.”

According to the NLRB, under the protection of concerted activities, employees have the right to act with co-workers to address work-related issues in many ways.  Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to the employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in [the] workplace. [An] employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten for, or coercively question about, protected concerted activity.  A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. However, [employees] can lose protection by saying or doing something egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging [the] employer’s products or services without relating complaints to any labor controversy.

The complaints filed by Dashner and Kimble cited Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” 

Employers are restricted from the following actions:

  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences, such as closing the workplace, loss of benefits, or more onerous working conditions, if they support a union, engage in union activity, or select a union to represent them.
  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is “concerted” if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is “protected” if it concerns employees’ interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act’s protection through misconduct.)
  • Promise employees benefits if they reject the union.
  • Imply a promise of benefits by soliciting grievances from employees during a union organizing campaign. (However, if you regularly solicited employee grievances before the campaign began, you may continue that practice unchanged.)
  • Confer benefits on employees during a union organizing campaign to induce employees to vote against the union.
  • Withhold changes in wages or benefits during a union organizing campaign that would have been made had the union not been on the scene, unless you make clear to employees that the change will occur whether or not they select the union, and that your sole purpose in postponing the change is to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the outcome of the election.
  • Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers’ union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.)
  • Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects.
  • Poll your employees to determine the extent of their support for a union, unless you comply with certain safeguards. You must not have engaged in unfair labor practices or otherwise created a coercive atmosphere. In addition, you must (1) communicate to employees that the purpose of the poll is to determine whether the union enjoys majority support (and that must, in truth, be your purpose); (2) give employees assurances against reprisal; and (3) conduct the poll by secret ballot.
  • Spy on employees’ union activities. (“Spying” means doing something out of the ordinary to observe the activity. Seeing open union activity in workplace areas frequented by supervisors is not “spying.”)
  • Create the impression that you are spying on employees’ union activities.
  • Photograph or videotape employees engaged in peaceful union or other protected activities.
  • Solicit individual employees to appear in a campaign video.
  • Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act.
  • Deny off-duty employees access to outside nonworking areas of your property, unless business reasons justify it.
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union buttons, t-shirts, and other union insignia unless special circumstances warrant.
  • Convey the message that selecting a union would be futile.
  • Discipline or discharge a union-represented employee for refusing to submit, without a representative, to an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes may result in discipline.
  • Interview employees to prepare your defense in an unfair labor practice case, unless you provide certain assurances. You must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him against reprisals, and obtain his voluntary participation. Questioning must occur in a context free from employer hostility to union organization and must not itself be coercive. And questioning must not go beyond what is needful to achieve its legitimate purpose. That is, you may not pry into other union matters, elicit information concerning the employee’s subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfere with employee rights under the Act.
  • Initiate, solicit employees to sign, or lend more than minimal support to or approval of a decertification or union-disaffection petition.
  • Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities.

After two days of evidentiary hearings, the judge gave both sides an August 6th deadline to present briefs for his consideration.  A decision is not expected until later this year. 

 

Noise Complaint from Neighbor of Wichita PD Officer

At the most recent Board of Butler County Commissioners meeting, Butler County resident of Douglass, Jeff Runyon appeared before the Board during the “Public Comments” to appeal for help in resolving a long-running nuisance with neighbor who is a Wichita Police Department Officer.

Citing the near daily running of 4-Wheelers, Mr. Runyan expressed his frustration with the noise pollution. “These are not regular four wheelers, they are racing bikes with hardly any mufflers [and] has gone on for 5 years.”  He stated the noise level has increased each year.

He presented a specific incident when he called the Sheriff’s office. On October 1, 2016, the noise began at 8a in the morning and continued all day. From his home, half a mile away, he documented the noise with a decibel meter at 79 decibels. After canister fireworks went off, he called the Sheriff, it was approximately 10:30p.  Once the Sheriff’s deputy had left, Mr. Runyan heard individuals get back on the bikes and make comments such as “take that.”

In addition to the disruption to daily life, he noted “You can’t do anything without wondering when and where it’s going to start up.” Also, he has witnessed that the behavior is harassing wildlife.

Pleading with the Commission, he asked for serious help in putting together a noise resolution that can be enforced. “It is obnoxious behavior.  Where’s our rights and what can we do?”

“[Mr. Runyan] is not only one in that area complaining”  stated Commissioner Woydziak “We need to look at an enforceable law.”

Sheriff Kelly Herzet can not currently issue a ticket according to Butler County Attorney, Darrin Devinney.  He presented the challenges to prosecution under the active ordinance. It is an undetermined misdemeanor imposing a $500-$2000 fine for a first offense as a Class A misdemeanor.

Some of those challenges include the need for standardized equipment to enforce, as well as the cumulative effect of sound as a problem. Mr. Devinney asked, “Do we [prosecute] the land owner or all the parties? We have talked about this at length.  Sheriff Herzet and David Alfaro have spoken with Mr. Runyan regarding the remedies available to him.”

Sheriff Herzet has been accumulating sound ordinances violation for several years and this situation has been well documented.

Commissioner Masterson asked if a decibel level is set within the current ordinance and it was identified as limiting the allowable decibel level.

With respect to obtaining standardized equips for the department, he stated, “A decibel meter is not too expensive.” Sheriff Herzet outlines the actions he has taken. “What I’ve done is I have reached out. This guy is a Wichita police officer. Made contact … to let him know we’re on a complaint.” Sheriff Herzet added, “I like riding motorcycles but not from 8a-10p.”

County Administrator, Will Johnson informed the Commission that the complaint of out of season fireworks is currently enforceable.

The Commission determined to investigate how to amend the ordinance.

Splash Parks May Close Due Vandalism

Commissioners discussed the vandalism at the spray parks during the City Commission meeting on Monday night.  According to City of El Dorado staff, “The North Main and Graham Splash Parks have been vandalized, damaging the drainage and pump areas. More than 90% of the vandalism at the splash parks is being done during the daylight hours while the splash parks are running. Reports we have received involve children stuffing leaves, bags, towels, etc.in the filters, which stops the water and causes damage to the filters. Police have increased patrols in these areas, but our hope is that adults or other children who are made aware of the issue will report any of this activity by calling 322-4398, which will allow staff to respond more quickly. We thank those people who have come forward with information on the vandalism and hope that everyone continues to keep an eye out.”   The announcement was made, “If the vandalism continues, service interruptions at both parks will take place.”

It was also noted that illegal dumping has occurred at the compost site.  Illegal dumping is prohibited and citizens are reminded that the site is for leaves, grass and brush only.  It will be shut down for 5 days if other items found. Citizens are asked police themselves and report any illegal dumping to help keep compost site active for the community.

 

 

City Commission

At the El Dorado City Commission meeting Monday night, the consent agenda was approved (4-0) with Commissioner Badwey absent. On the consent agenda was the following items:

  1. Approval of City Commission Minutes from June 3, 2019 and City Commission Special
  2. Minutes from May, 15, 28 and 29, 2019.
  3. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance No. 06-19 in the amount of $4,260,102.71.
  4. Temporary Beer License for BCC at Drums Across Kansas.

Items of business brought before the commission began with Brian Minnis, Chief Development Officer of GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness.  He appeared before the Commission to answer questions regarding the lease and transaction process with the golf course. There is a delay with finalizing the transaction due to one of the five partners retiring and divesting his investment in the company.  The Commission approved the execution of the Prairie Trails Lease Agreement 4-0

Jay Shivers from the Engineering Department presented the Special Use Permit (SUP) application for the expansion of Deer Grove RV Park onto 2.3 acres at 2953 SE Highway 54.  A SUP allows specific uses to take place on a property. The zoning ordinance allows campgrounds with a SUP on this property, which is zoned Manufactured Home Park Residential District. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on May 30th, 2019, to review the application and they voted to unanimously recommend approval of the application.  Conditions may be placed on the SUP .

The current zoning district allows single-family residential and manufactured home parks. The SUP was  approved with condition of a 6 foot privacy fence to limit the impact of the special use. It was approved 4-0.

The City of El Dorado requested bids for the rehabilitation and sealing of runway 4/22 at the Captain Jack Thomas Memorial Airport.  The lowest and best bid was determined to be from Pearson Construction at $236,311.38. The City has requested assistance from the FAA and has been granted funding in the amount of 90% of the project. The cost to the City will be $36,100 which has been budgeted in the airport fund.

The Commission authorized the City Manager to execute the contract with the FAA and upon concurrence from them, award the contract to Pearson Construction for the Runway 4/22 project, 4-0.

In an effort to address dangerous and unfit structures, staff has determined from our unsafe-unfit structures list, 5 homes that an ultimate resolution needs to be addressed. Those homes are:

1107 W Carr; 1108 W Carr; 426 W 7th; 802 S Taylor; and 205 N Washington.

Chapter 15.16 of El Dorado Municipal Code sets forth the avenue to rectify the ongoing issues with these structures.  If the owner of the property is unable to cause a structure to be razed the City Commission is the ultimate entity responsible for demolition cost. A special assessment would be placed on the property in hopes of recovering the cost.  The Commission authorized (4-0) the scheduling of a public hearing on August 19, 2019 at 6:30 for the purpose of abating or removing the dangerous structures at 1107 W Carr, 1108 W Carr, 426 W 7th, 802 S Taylor and 205 N Washington.

A public hearing was held for the purpose of considering an application to be submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce for Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds under the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation category.

The project considered for the grant is for the rehabilitation of the building located 142 North Main Street El Dorado, Kansas at the corner of North Main Street and West 1st Street. The proposed rehabilitation project will consist of installing a perimeter drain system inside the building, demolition of roof down to concrete roof slab, install new roof drains with overflow drains, R-30 insulation, TPO roof membrane and fire suppression system. The estimated project cost is $330,600.00, with the grant request for $247,950.00 of the project cost and a local match of $82,650.00.

Under previous ownership, maintenance of the property was neglected resulting in a failed roof and extensive water damage throughout the building. In April of this year, the building was purchased by Nathan and Nicole Ensminger with the intent to bring the building up to code and rehabilitate the interior for occupancy of multiple tenants on the first and second floors. As an anchor building in the core of downtown El Dorado, the property is eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding under the current 2019 Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation program.  Costs for the administration of the grant will be paid from grant proceeds.

The Commissioning approved the declaration of the building as blighted, with respect to the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program. The Resolution certifying legal authority to apply for the 2019 Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program from the Kansas Department of Commerce was approved, 4-0.  Additionally, the Commission directed City Manager, David Dillner to execute a contract with South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD) for administrative services for the Community Development Block Grant, 4-0.

Kurt Bookout, Director of Public Utilities, appeared to present bids for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.  No bids were received for the project. City staff contacted Electrical Systems, Inc. (ESI) of Wichita, and requested a bid which they submitted a bid in June for the project.  The purpose of the project is to increase the operational flexibility and efficiency of the Booster Pump Station by adding a jockey pump, by-pass piping and valves, pump VFD and controls.  The addition of these items to the station will decrease electrical costs significantly. The bid received was for $55,000 with a discount provided of $5,500, so the actual project cost will be $49,500. The project was budgeted and the water fund is anticipated to fall within their targeted cash range this year.

The Commission voted (4-0) to direct the City Manager to execute the contract with ESI for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.

 

Kansas Champion visits El Dorado

On Saturday, June 15th Miss Frontier, Bailey Smith, Miss Teen El Dorado, Naomi Galindo, and Mini Miss Frontier Janessa Knapp joined Miss Augusta Sierra Marie Bonn and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Kansas Champion Vinny along with “Flat Vinny” to help Walmart raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) in Kansas.

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Back row, left to right, Miss Augusta Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Teen El Dorado Naomi Galindo, Miss Frontier Bailey Smith. Front row, left to right, Vinny, “Flat Vinny” and Mini Miss Frontier Janessa Knapp.

The month-long fundraising event was celebrated with a kickoff party that included hotdogs, popcorn, cake and a coloring contest.  Vinny was on hand to judge the contest which features a “Flat Vinny” designed by Vinny. His flat version is traveling the state and Internet with the hashtag #flatvinny.  Vinny and his parents will be able to log on and see all the people and places “Flat Vinny” has visited. Each week one drawing will be selected and the winner will receive a Walmart gift card.

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Vinny, with his flat version “Flat Vinny” and Miss Augusta Sierra Marie Bonn.  Sierra has taken “Flat Vinny” across the state with her as she competed for the title of Miss Kansas raising awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Vinny and the girls will be back at Walmart, again, on Saturday, June 22nd from 12-2p to continue raising awareness and funds.  All funds raised will go to our local CMNH Hospital to help sick and injured kids.