Surprise Birthday Parade

Friends and family gathered for a surprise birthday parade in honor of Virginia Ball‘s 95th birthday.

Due to the stay home mandate, Ball has been home and relatively isolated from family and friends for six weeks. That changed on Sunday, April 26, 2020. 

Ball’s daughter, Georgann Anderson, told her they were going to the nursery to buy some flowers for Virginia‘s garden, as a birthday gift.

Virginia was dressed, with her face mask on, and sitting on her front porch preparing for her outing when police sirens went off and a couple of El Dorado Police Department cars rounded the corner leading a birthday procession.

Virginia was surprised and overcome with emotion as well wishers drove by, honking. 

They delivered flowers and balloons and large birthday yard signs.

Anderson had the idea and contacted her own daughter, Denise Barth Henggeler, who lives out of state.  Together, with the help of local friends, they organized the “Top Secret Birthday Parade“ online.  

Friends from across the country who were unable to participate in the parade showered Virginia with birthday cards while others sent video messages. 

Holding a large sign, Ball laughed when she said she has to tell the truth about her age, “I’m 95, I can’t lie.” 

Ball said her secret to longevity is to, “Stay busy. Don’t sit around and do nothing.”

The surprise birthday parade brightened her day and brought a smile to her face. She said the past couple of weeks had been hard on her. 

“It’s been terrible, I’ve been depressed, and I don’t get that way.” 

City of El Dorado Response to COVID-19

On March 20, 2020, El Dorado City Manager David Dillner issued a statement via the city’s YouTube and social media channels outlining how the City is responding to the coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) and the disease it causes known as COVID-19.  Included are guidelines for citizens to follow during this critical time. 

 For questions, citizens are urged to call City Hall at 321-9100.  If needing to to report a non-critical incident, they are to call the Police Department at 321- 9120

To stay up to date with the most recent information, visit the City website at: or the City’s Facebook page: 

City Response

• Public facilities are closed to the general public, although the City continues to provide essential public services.

• The Senior Center and Activities Center are closed to the public.

• Adult and youth recreation activities are suspended until further notice. The Parks and Recreation Department will issue refund checks to participants by mail in the coming days. Prorated checks will be issued for activities that have started the season.

• No decision has been made on the upcoming baseball and softball seasons. The City will communicate a decision once it has been determined by the leagues.

 • The City is not taking new reservations for the Civic Center, Train Depot, or park facilities through the end of April. Existing reservations with expected attendance under fifty may still occur, although the City encourages caution in hosting these events.

• Refunds for cancellation of rentals will be sent by mail. Please call City Hall to cancel an event.

• The Senior Center will provide drive-though lunch service beginning on Monday, March 23. Please call 321-0142 to place your order and then pick-up at the drive-through on the south end portico of the Senior Center around 11:45 am.

 • Water and wastewater treatment will continue in order for citizens to have safe drinking water and to ensure that wastewater is properly treated and disposed of.

• The City will not disconnect water services due to failure to pay for services for the foreseeable future. Utility customers with late payments or that are not able to make payments will not be assessed disconnect or late fees. Utility customers are encouraged to stay current on utility bills to minimize rolling balances.

• Utility payments may be made using the drive-through window at City Hall, by phone, or by using the City’s website.

• The Police and Fire Departments remain available to respond to emergency situations and calls for service. Please call 911 to report emergencies.

• The Police Department requests that all non-emergency incident reports be provided by phone.

• Municipal Court will be closed until May 4, although this may be extended. All new court appearances will be scheduled beginning in June.

• Building permits, inspections, and contractor licensing will be conducted and scheduled over the phone.

• The City is encouraging companies to avoid going door-to-door at this time. Citizens who are uncomfortable allowing door-to-door sales people in their homes are encouraged to either not answer the door or ask the people to leave their property. All door-to-door sales people are required to carry a certificate from the City. This certificate DOES NOT state that these individuals are clear of any virus; it simply states that the City has completed a background check on the individual.

• Trash service will continue as normal. Please have trash cans placed at the curb by 7:00 am on the day of your neighborhood’s normal trash route.

• The City will have trash bags available at City Hall for purchase. Please use the drive-through window to purchase and pick-up bags.


• The City Commission will continue to meet. Meetings are still open to the public, and the City will provide a way for the public to view and participate in governing body proceedings safely.

• All other advisory committee meetings have been postponed at this time.

• Social distancing: Contact under 6 feet should be limited to 10 minutes or less.

• Good hygiene practices: wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and cover coughs and sneezes with elbow or tissue. Hand sanitizer may also be used if soap and water is not readily available.

• Please stay home and self-quarantine if you have any symptoms. Citizens are encouraged to call their doctor’s office for instructions should they experience symptoms.

• The City is recommending all businesses voluntarily comply with the recommendations for crowds of fifty or fewer people.

• There are no other quarantine restrictions or requirements for the community at this time.

• Citizens are encouraged to use the many curbside pickup options from local businesses to support these important contributors to our community.

73rd Annual Mayor’s Dinner

Representatives from less than half the cities in Butler County, attended the 73rd Annual Butler County Mayor’s Dinner, hosted by El Dorado Mayor Bill Young.

The dinner was held at the El Dorado Elks Lodge on Tuesday, February 18th.

In attendance were Butler County Commissioners Woydziak, Murphy, Myers and Wheeler along with County Administrator Will Johnson; Representative Will Carpenter; El Dorado Commissioners Guthrie, Lewis, Badwey and Wilkinson; City Manager David Dillner; City Clerk Tabitha Sharp; representatives from Andover, Augusta, Potwin and Towanda; BCC President Dr. Krull and El Dorado High School Principal Bruce Lolling.

Mayor Young said it was his desire that the gathering would provide them an opportunity to meet, form relationships and build collaborative partnerships across Butler County.

After welcoming guests, Young kicked off the process sharing informal updates.
Carpenter welcomed questions before he headed back to Topeka.
Potwin’s long time Mayor, Dean Schmidt, has held the office for 33 years.

City Service Awards

In one of his final acts as Mayor, Vince Haines had the privilege of doing one of his favorite jobs – recognizing city employees who have 10 or more years of service with the City of El Dorado.

Neil Boyce was presented his award by Kurt Bookout.

Debbie Smith received her award from Chief Curt Zieman.

City Clerk Tabitha Sharp was presented her award by City Manager David Dillner.

Brad Meyers presented to proud Marine Dad and snake lover, Scott Jones, his award.

Officer Sarah Hagen received her award from Chief Zieman.

Officer John Thompson received his award from Chief Zieman.

City Engineer Scott Rickard presenting to Amanda Stalnaker.

Michelle Linson received her award from Kurt Bookout.

Passing the Torch 

After a touching rendition of the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance led by the Flint Hills Rock and Rollers, outgoing Mayor Vince Haines was recognized for his two terms as Mayor of El Dorado, during the City Commission meeting held December 2, 2019.  

Outgoing Mayor Vince Haines, left, receives a plaque from City Manager, David Dillner, right. 

He was presented with gifts from city staff and his fellow commissioners, before handing the gavel to incoming Mayor, Bill Young. 

In one of his last statements as Mayor, Haines shared his underlying vision when he took office four years ago. 

“Collaboration and communication with staff and the Commission, along with having trust and spirited dialog, and then being able to leave each meeting with respect for one another was my underlying goal as Mayor.”

City Clerk, Tabitha Sharp administers the Oath of Office to incoming Mayor Bill Young, right.

Bill Young was sworn in as the 38th individual to serve as the Mayor of El Dorado, during the City Commission meeting on December 2, 2019.

Young seems to embody the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” 

Young is employed at Butler Community College as the Vice President Digital Transformation with Information Services.  However, he is no stranger to politics. Young previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and has served one term as City Commissioner beginning in 2011. 

When asked why he decided to run as Mayor, he said it had always been a goal, but after serving as a City Commissioner, his daughter was at a place in high school where he wanted to be present for her.  

With his daughter off in college, he jokingly said, “I have to find something to do.” But in earnest he added, “It’s always been a passion of mine and a goal, and now it is the right time.”

Speaking to that passion, he said, is quality of life, mainly parks and recreation.  His focus on quality of life issues include encouraging people to move here. 

“I want people to realize that El Dorado is an awesome town. I know it’s an awesome town. I want other people to have the same experiences.”   

In addition to Young being sworn in as Mayor, Gregg Lewis and Kendra Wilkinson were both sworn into a second term as City Commissioners, following their re-election last month.  

You can listen to highlights from the meeting on the podcast.

City Clerk, Tabitha Sharp, left, administers the Oath of Office to Gregg Lewis, right, while Kendra Wilkinson and Bill Young watch.

City Clerk, Tabitha Sharp, left, administers the Oath of Office to Kendra Wilkinson. 

The Flinthills Rock and Rollers performed the National Anthem and led the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the City Commission meeting.


Sam Binter Tennis Complex

The Ribbon Cutting and Dedication hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce was held Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30pm.

Among the guests in attendance was former Superintendent Sue Givens, along with current school board members and City Commissioners.  The tennis court project was a joint venture between the City of El Dorado and USD490.

Mayor Vince Haines and Superintendent Teresa Tosh shared remarks with the crowd before USD490 School Board President, Norm Wilks help Mayor Haines cut the ribbon.

Mayor Vince Haines and USD490 Board of Education President Norm Wilkes cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Sam Binter Tennis Complex located on North Main Street. 

Sam Binter, left, and USD490 Superintendent Teresa Tosh with the comparative plaque. 

City of El Dorado 2020 Budget Approved

El Dorado Boy Scout Troop #222 made a visit to the City Commission meeting to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The City of El Dorado Budget for 2020 was approved Monday night. City Manager David Dillner explained to the Commission that the Total Budget Authority for the year is expected to be $32.9 million.

Jordan Buxton, El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Director, along with Sue Hoefgen of Augusta Chamber of Commerce, shared information on the Butler County Act Program.

The goal of the Butler County Act Program is to create an ACT ready community. ACT Work Ready Communities Program (WRC) empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth.

Commissioner Wilkinson stated, “As a former educator I appreciate it is not just the schools involved but the chamber as well.” Mayor Haines added that he appreciates the bridge between the workforce and schools.

A date of September 12th is scheduled to launch the program. To learn more contact Jordan Buxton at the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce or Sara Hoefgen at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

Also appearing before the Commission was the HollyFrontier Western Celebration chairman, Tabitha Sharp. She was joined by the newly crowned Miss Frontier 2019, Naomi Galindo. They shared information about the upcoming festival and invited the Commissioners to attend this year’s event.

The festival begins Friday, August 9 with Mutton Bustin’, the Extreme Bull Blowout, and a concert by Kyle Park.

Saturday includes a parade through downtown, the Kids Korral at East Park in partnership with the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum. A Junior Ranch Rodeo will be held at 1p on Saturday followed by the Butler County Ranch Rodeo and a concert with Jason Callahan.

The weekend rounds out with Cowboy Church on Sunday. Tickets are $10, can be purchased at the gate, and provide admission to the festival all weekend. The City of El Dorado is a sponsor of the HollyFrontier Western Celebration. The HollyFrontier Western Celebration is a committee of El Dorado Main Street.