Read the Blog

Butler County Legislative Coffee

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosts Butler County Farm Bureau Forum

On Saturday, March 5, 2022 the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Coffee sponsored by the Butler County Farm Bureau Association. 

Listen to the conversation on the podcast channel here.

In attendance were District 12 Representative Doug Blex, District 75 Representative Will Carpenter and District 14 Senator Mike Fagg.  They spoke to Butler County residents about the work they are currently doing on their behalf and answered questions. 

Representative Blex represents House District 12 which spans parts of 5 counties; Mongomery(part), Chautauqua, Cowley, Butler and Elk.  Blex serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, is Vice-Chair of the Local Government Committee and is on the House Taxation Committee.

“I always enjoy the Farm Bureau forums,” said Representative Blex. “I feel like I get some really straight-shooting of what the issues are.”  

Before and after the panel discussion, voters had the opportunity to speak with their legislators.  Pictured is Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn discussing issues with Representative Carpenter. 

Representative Will Carpenter represents House District 75 which serves the cities of Cassoday, El Dorado, Elbing, Potwin and Towanda and the townships of Chelsea, Clifford, El Dorado, Fairmount, Fairview, Lincoln, Milton, Murdock, Plum Grove, Prospect, Rosalia and SycamoreTowanda.

Representative Carpenter serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee and the Social Services Budget Committee, for which he is the Chair. 

“I enjoy hearing from the folks back home,” said Carpenter.  “They are my eyes and ears out there.”

The Legislators each shared about the work they are doing in Topeka and took questions from the audience. Pictured is Representative Doug Blex speaking.

Senator Mike Fagg represents Senate District 14 which covers 10 counties; Butler, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Montgomery, Wilson and Woodson Counties.

Senator Fagg serves on the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee, Ways and Means, Utilities, Financial Institutions/Insurance and serves as the Vice-Chair, Joint Committee for Education, Joint Committee for Mental Health, Sparks Sub-Committee for Modern and Efficiency.

“We had a lot of great questions,” said Fagg.  “The only thing I wish is that we would have more people here because we need to get everyone involved, everyone’s thoughts and ideas need to be heard.”

A small but passionate number of voters attended the Legislative Coffee.

Jeff Varner, Policy Chair for the Butler County Farm Bureau Association, said the event provided an opportunity for the public to visit with legislators.  

“It’s always amazing what you learn,” said Varner. “We have worked hard over the years to hold events like this and plan several more in the coming months.” 

“The whole purpose is to give the community a chance to talk to their representatives, see what is happening in Topeka,” said Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. 

“We hope to have more throughout the year as this is an election year,” said Benedict.

The next Butler County Farm Bureau Association Legislative Coffee is scheduled to be on Saturday, March 26 from 9-11a at the Augusta Train Depot in Augusta. Representative Kristy Williams and Senator Ty Masterson will be in attendance to share the work they are doing in Topeka and visit with voters.

Volunteer of the Year

El Dorado Branch YMCA 

Kyle Loucks is the Volunteer of the Year award winner for the El Dorado YMCA and is a nominee for the overall Greater Wichita YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award that will be presented at the  Annual Celebration to be held March 10th.  As the El Dorado Y Volunteer of the Year, Kyle will be presented with a plaque at the event. 

Kyle Loucks is the El Dorado YMCA Volunteer of the Year

“Our volunteer of the year, Kyle Loucks, works at the front desk,” said Matt Engel Branch Director of El Dorado YMCA. 

“She is our ultimate gretter. The regulars who come in in the morning expect to see her at the front desk,” said Engel.  She is part of our family and part of our culture. She is definitely the life of the time when she is here.”

Loucks has volunteered at the El Dorado YMCA for 6 years. 

“My favorite part is greeting people,” said Loucks. “And I like helping them feel happy and healthy.”

“Kyle has the best attitude,” said Engel.  “She does towel runs and will help wherever she can.”  

  “Volunteers of the Year at the branch level are selected for the exceptional work they do to make the Greater Wichita YMCA better. Their length of involvement with the Y and the impact they make on all those around them are part of the selection process,” said Angela Cato, Director of Marketing for the Greater Wichita YMCA.

William Allen White and the KKK In Kansas

Beverley Olson Buller, author, educator, and Chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards, will be at the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 2 p.m. as part of the museum’s Sunday Speaker Series.

Beverley Olson Buller, author, educator, and Chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards

She will be speaking about El Dorado native William Allen White’s efforts to outlaw the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Kansas.   

As the editor of the Emporia Gazette, White was acutely aware of the growing presence of the KKK in Kansas following World War I, according to Buller.

The 1920s saw the re-emergence of the KKK across America, and sparked fear and violence against African Americans and other minority groups. 

During the 1924 Kansas Gubernatorial campaign, White observed that none of the candidates were free of Klan influence, and decided to run for the governorship to free Kansas from the disgrace of the Ku Klux Klan.

While he did not win, his efforts led to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the Klan in Kansas

Tickets can be purchased for a $10 donation to the museum at 383 E Central Ave, in El Dorado, or by calling (316)321-9333.

New Police Chief Selected

     The City of El Dorado has made its selection for the next Chief of Police and their announcement was made via the City of El Dorado Facebook page on Tuesday, January 25th.

     Mike Holton, Lieutenant with the El Dorado Police Department has been selected to serve El Dorado as the next Chief of Police.  

Mike Holton has been selected to serve the City of El Dorado as Police Chief upon the retirement of Curt Zieman on March 25, 2022.

     Holton has been in law enforcement in El Dorado and Butler County for more than 33 years. He most recently returned to the El Dorado Police Department in 2019.

     “I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve the City of El Dorado as your next police chief,” said Holton. 

     “I’m equally honored to step into the shoes of a man who served this community for over 40 years, Curt (Zieman, Police Chief) also served as one of my mentors over the last 20 years.”

     “I truly look forward to serving this community by building relationships with community groups, community organizations and the citizens of El Dorado,” said Holton.

     “I look forward to serving the city of El Dorado along with outside agencies in an effort to keep El Dorado a safe place to live, work and play.”

“Holton will be promoted to Deputy Chief within the week,” said Julie Clements, Municipal Information Officer for the City of El Dorado. “He will work and learn under Chief Zieman until [Zieman] retires on March 25th.”

Power of One

KAY Unit Conference held in El Dorado

El Dorado High School KAY Club hosted their annual Kansas Association of Youth (KAY) Unit Conference at the USD 490 Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, January 19th.  Students from schools across the region attended the conference which had the theme “The Power of One.”

Each of the El Dorado High School KAY Club members involved with hosting the conference wore t-shirts with a quote by President John F. Kennedy.

“The half-day conference gives students the opportunity to share project and program ideas, to develop leadership skills and to ‘put the spotlight’ on youth in the community where the conference is held,” states the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA).

El Dorado High School KAY Club members and sponsor Heather Fangmann posed with a photo with Guest Speakers Mayor Bill Young, Chase Locke and Sierra Marie Bonn. 

According to their stated purpose, the conferences are held during the winter months, and designed to focus on club leadership on the local level. 

“Two years ago (prior to COVID), EHS volunteered to host a unit conference,” said Heather Fangmann, the El Dorado High School KAY Club sponsor.  

“We were supposed to host it last January, but due to the pandemic, all conferences were canceled,” said Fangmann. 

Students were divided into small groups to participate in activities designed to highlight the “Power of One”

The El Dorado High School KAY Club members selected local speakers to present and share their passion for volunteerism and leadership.

Those guest speakers were Mayor Bill Young, Chase Locke and Sierra Marie Bonn.  Mayor Young gave a presentation titled “C.A.M.P.”  Locke’s presentation was titled “Tomorrow is Here!” and Bonn’s presentation was  “My Favorite Number.”

Mayor Bill Young shared his presentation on “C.A.M.P.” encouraging the students to pursue curiosity, autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Chase Locke shared wisdom with students during his presentation “Tomorrow is Here!”
Sierra Marie Bonn shared her favorite impact number with the students during her presentation “My Favorite Number”