Energy Education Center Groundbreaking 

Located at Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum

Board members of the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum picked up shovels and hard hats for an on-site groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.  

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Phil Benedict, left, Museum Executive Director, Tiya Tonn, center, and museum employee Tyler Melugin, right, welcome attendees alongside an artist’s rendition of the future Energy Education Center.

A crowd of supporters gathered to witness Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce,  the emcee for the event with Brad Nightengale, Senior Vice President of Vintage Bank, Caiden Bump, Sales Manager of El Dorado Building Systems, Bill Young, Mayor of El Dorado, and Loren Jack speak during the groundbreaking event.

Supporters excited to watch the Energy Education Center come to life were on hand to witness the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We are excited to share that it is for our new Energy Education Center,” said Jack.

The Energy Education Center, a new facility spearheaded by Loren Jack, Owner of Albert Hogoboom Oilfield Trucking and President of the Board of Trustees, will be an indoor event center equipped with exhibit showcases, tables, seating, a stage, technology for presentations, a kitchen with a service window, and a 14ft access door for special equipment. 

Pictured left to right are Executive Board Members/Building Committee Members President Loren Jack, Vice President Tim Myers, Board Member JR Hogoboom, and Treasurer Sean Maclaskey.

“This building will allow for interactive STEM activities that look to the future while honoring the museum’s mission to preserve the history of the oil industry,” said Jack.

The addition of the Energy Education Center will free up space in the Large Exhibit Hall to expand displays and add exhibit features from the Museum’s extensive historic collections.  The combination of these new features is estimated to bring 15,000 additional visitors per year to the Museum and El Dorado. 

To learn more about this project, visit www.kansasoilmuseum.org/energy-education-center

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.

Additional COVID-19 Saliva PCR Testing

Increased gatherings increase testing options

Butler County, Kansas – With the increased gatherings for the upcoming holiday season, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy. In the event that you do develop symptoms over the holiday season, the Butler County Health Department will be conducting Saliva PCR COVID-19 testing on the following dates:

December 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th
9am to 12pm – NO APPOINTMENT NECCESSARY 206 N. Griffith St., Ste. B, El Dorado, Kansas, 67042

The saliva PCR test requires that you do not eat, drink or smoke fifteen (15) minutes prior to being tested.

Please park in the reserved spaces and call the number listed on the sign for a nurse to come to your vehicle to be tested.

Please remain in your vehicle, the nurse will come to you.

Test results may take up to seventy-two (72) hours to receive. You will be contacted by Health Department staff via phone with your results.

Please complete the testing submission form prior to arrival.

Forms will also be available at the testing location.

For additional questions please contact 316-621-4517.

Government Day in Butler County

Through a cooperative effort by the Butler County Administration, American Legion Posts and Auxiliary Units in Butler County, students from schools throughout the county convened in front of the Butler County Courthouse on Tuesday, November 16th to learn about the various functions of our county government and where tax dollars are invested.

Historic Butler County Courthouse

Education is an important part of the mission of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary because a democracy depends largely on its people being informed.

The Government Day program is geared towards informing high school students enrolled in Government classes within Butler County.

Commission Chairman Jeff Masterson welcomes students.

Greeted by County Commission Chairman Jeff Masterson, the students were told how the day would unfold. They divided into several groups and rotated through stations throughout the day.

Those stations were composed of the different administrative, executive and legal offices within Butler County.

Group chaperones included members of the American Legion.

Students sat in the Board of County Commissioners meeting located on the fourth floor of the historic courthouse and heard from the County Commissioners and GIS Mapping Department’s Director Pam Dunham. She shared an abbreviated history of Butler County with the students in addition to quizzing them on some well-known, and some obscure, facts of the largest county in Kansas.

Commissioners welcomed students and shared about the roles in county government.
Students learning fun facts about Butler County.

At another station, students heard from Butler County Clerk, Tatum Stafford and her office.  Students who were of voting age and unregistered, were given the opportunity to register to vote.

Students learned about the voting process through a mock election.

Emergency Management Director, Keri Korthals shared why the need for emergency preparedness was the responsibility of all the people.

Butler County Emergency Management Director Keri Korthals speaks to students at her station.

And the Public Works Department was stationed in the parking lot and gave students an opportunity to learn what the department is responsible for as well as learning about the equipment they use on a daily basis.

Public Works equipment in the parking lot.
Students learned about the equipment used by the Public Works Department.

Students also visited the Judicial Building and the Butler County Detention Facility.

Butler County Judicial Building

For lunch, the students were treated to hamburgers and hot dogs at the Butler County Community Building. The lunch was hosted by the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, and prepared by the Red Devil Chefs.  

American Legion Auxiliary members hosted lunch.
Red Devil Chefs grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.
Lunch is served.

While there students heard from American Legion Post #81 Commander Steve Seymour, American Legion Auxiliary Unit #81 President Karen Hasting, District 5 Auxiliary President Tracy Kinnick and State of Kansas Department President Annette Scheaffer.  Each of the American Legion and Auxiliary members spoke on the programs, like Government Day, provided by the organizations.  One of the programs available to high school juniors is Boys and Girls State. 

American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are summer leadership and citizenship programs for high school juniors, which focus on exploring the mechanics of American government and politics.

Concluding the program, Representative Will Carpenter shared why he entered public service and encouraged each of the students to get involved in local government.

Cemetery Tours

This time of year brings trips to pumpkin patches, apple orchards and haunted houses. However, a fun and unique alternative is to take a cemetery tour.  The Butler County Historical Center Home of the Kansas Oil Museum is hosting their annual event on the two Saturday’s leading up to Halloween, Saturday, October 16th and Saturday, October 23rd.

There are two primary cemeteries in El Dorado; Sunset Lawn and Belle Vista. A dispute has existed as to which cemetery is oldest but it is likely that Sunset Lawn is the oldest with its first burial documented in 1872. 

Belle Vista Cemetery Tour attendees in 2019 listen as a reenactor Tom Penning brings the story of Nathan Frazier to life. 

The tours in 2019 were held in Belle Vista Cemetery and there were no tours in 2020.  

This year, the tours focus on Sunset Lawns Cemetery.  Guests are invited to walk back in time, accompanied by a tour guide, to listen to reenactors of prominent El Dorado and Butler County figures as they tell their stories. 

Tours will be held at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. and are limited to twenty participants each tour.   

Tickets are available with a $10 donation per person and must be obtained in advance, in person, at the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum located at 383 E Central, or by calling (316)321-9333.

Wilbur Clayton Barrett, recently returned home after dying at Pearl Harbor, is one of the many people buried in Sunset Lawns.