Plans for Graduation are being developed by ARkansas City High School, and due to the current coronavirus scare, many things have been more than a little difficult to plan. School administrators say while they had hoped to be able to offer a traditional graduation ceremony this May, that simply isn’t an option due to current restrictions. They also understand that due to military and workforce commitments as well as other obligations, some students would be excluded if they simply postponed graduation to a date later in the Summer – and even then – restrictions on mass gatherings could prevent that from taking place. So… Virtual Graduation will be streamed at 6pm on May 9th- the original graduation date. You can login at www.usd470.com/achsgraduation.
Archives for April 2020
Pursuant to new open meetings requirements set forth by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the City Commission of Arkansas City is providing notice that it will conduct its upcoming study session entirely virtually, starting at noon on Friday. The public will not be permitted to physically attend tomorrow’s meeting due to the rule that temporarily prohibits mass gatherings of 10 or more people to limit the spread of coronavirus. Anyone wishing to take part virtually, may do so by Using a computer, tablet or smartphone and logging on to Go To Meeting or by listening in via telephone. Details on how to do that are posted online with our local news.
((https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/456259533; Download the GoToMeeting app at global.gotomeeting.com/install/456259533; Dialing (571) 317-3122, then entering the access code 456-259-533, followed by the pound sign (#) twice.))
For assistance with accessing the virtual meeting, call Andrew Lawson at (620) 441-
4415 or (620) 660-5963 prior to noon Friday.
An Arkansas City man has been ordered to repay more than $2,500 to the Kansas Medicaid Program after being found guilty of Medicaid fraud. 21 year old Tyresse Hardiman pleaded guilty in September 2019 in Cowley County District Court to one felony count of making a false claim to the Medicaid Program. Cowley County Chief Judge Nicholas St. Peter has now ordered Hardiman to repay $2,501.92 to the Kansas Medicaid Program. Chief Judge St. Peter also sentenced Hardiman to 24 months probation with an underlying prison sentence of 14 months. If at any point Hardiman’s probation is revoked and he is ordered to serve the underlying prison term, he will serve 12 months on post-release supervision upon the conclusion of the sentence. He is also prohibited from being paid wages through a government health care program.
The first significant storms of the year passed through Cowley County Tuesday afternoon, bringing with them some moderate wind and some hail, but very little in the way of damage. No tornado was confirmed locally, but the same storm system that moved through our area, did cause a tornado warning to be issued for some neighboring areas by the National Weather Service. Trained spotters in Cowley County reported hail sizes from quarter-size and smaller with medium to low amounts.
Get ready for drive-through testing for the coronavirus at the Arkansas City hospital. Owners of closed businesses in Cowley County are now being urged to develop a written plan for how they can reopen safely as soon as the green light is given. Cowley County Public Health Officer Thomas Langer now says he has discussed the possibility of drive-up testing for people with COVID symptoms with South Central Kansas Medical Center, and we should watch for more news about that in the coming days. He also said owners and operators of closed businesses need to come up with… as soon as possible… a written plan for how they can safely re-open and still protect everyone. He says it’s not going to be a request… it is going to be a requirement. Reopening is planned to be incremental, with small businesses opening back up first and larger gatherings and meeting spaces taking more time. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 187 tests had been done in Cowley County with 168 negative, 16 pending and three positive results. Statewide, 163 new coronavirus cases were reported Tuesday in Kansas for a total of 3,491. There have been a total of 124 virus-related deaths. Total cases in Oklahoma on Tuesday reached 3,410. There have been a total of 207 deaths in Oklahoma, and 93 percent of all cases there are described as recovered.
After a 3rd case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Cowley County, comes a warning from health experts that the virus may now be spreading in the local community. If that is indeed the case, then it could mean that social distancing restrictioins will remain in place longer. The latest case has only been identified as a young woman with no previous illness and who lives and works in Cowley County. Doctors say she had shown no symptoms and was going to work, shopping and doing other necessary activities, including taking children to medical appointments. They say her husband works out of town and had been traveling. Now, all close contacts of the patient have been notified, are quarantined, and are being monitored for any change in condition.
The first case in Cowley County was detected nearly a month ago, and the man has since died. The second was a woman who contracted the illness from a relative in Oklahoma.
The City-Cowley County Health Department office in Arkansas City… already dealing with the effects of COVID-19… is now dealing with other issues… problems with its building. Repairs are underway, but for now, the office will be closed until that work is completed. Patient visits will continue at the Winfield office. The plan now is to hopefully open the office again next week. The office in Ark City was not handling COVID-19 testing, but the Winfield office does conduct testing through a scheduled drive-up arrangement. The repairs include work on the leaking roof and to replace one of the HVAC units that. There were even problems releated to locking the entry door. The lack of air conditioning and the number of people inside making repairs, means keeping the place open would create additional headaches.
Southwestern College will celebrate the graduating class of 2020 with a virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 10th at 2:30PM. The college is also planning in-person commencement exercises for the weekend of August 22-23, but for now, the celebratory virtual ceremony planned for May 10th will mark the completion of academic programs for senior and graduate students. The virtual ceremony may be accessed on the college’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/SouthwesternBuilders. A link to the ceremony will be posted on the college’s website and social media pages. Members of the Class of 2020 are asked to participate in the ceremony by posting pictures of their at-home celebrations on social media using the hashtag #Builders2020
While coronavirus continues to disrupt many special occasions, Arkansas City and Winfield high schools are moving forward with plans for graduation. A virtual commencement will be streamed at 6 p.m. May 9 on the district’s website, USD470.com. Despite the limitations currently in place, district leaders say they wanted to hold the ceremonies as close to the originally scheduled date as possible.
Each senior is having a 15-minute session that began Monday in which they are video recorded, wearing their caps and gowns, as they speak about their plans for the immediate future.The video will be shown as part of the commencement ceremony, and every senior will receive a copy of the video as a memento. The district is also buying yard signs, two per student, that will have each student’s picture on them. Families will be able to take the signs home with them on May 10th and display them on their lawns.
William Newton Hospital is the recipient of three grants through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways to a Healthy Kansas program. The hospital combined funding through three of the designated pathways to complete a $22,475 sidewalk renovation on the southwest corner of its Winfield campus. With the new sidewalk in place, the campus is more accessible and it is safer and more convenient for employees. The sidewalk construction was completed by Conco Construction of Wichita,, which also made an in-kind contribution of $5,675 to help fund the project.