The number of active coronavirus continues to decline in Cowley County, leading Public Health Officer Thomas Langer on Friday, to release a statement saying that larger mass gatherings will be allowed just in time for the 4th of July. Beginning today, mass gatherings defined as outdoor events such as concerts, park gatherings and open markets can increase from 250 to 750 people, as long as there is open space for the activity with social distancing required. Social gatherings indoors where appropriate space is available can increase from 150 to 300 people, or 25 percent of the occupancy rate of the building, as long as adequate social distancing can occur. On-site operations indoors can increase from 100 to 150 people, for meetings of short duration with social distancing and other health precautions utilized. County officials say big events such as Winfield and Arkansas City fireworks displays allow for people to spread out and they say they hope each venue will remind people to distance themselves. The outbreak in Cowley County had led to 66 confirmed cases since March. Two new cases were added on Friday. The recovery rate however, has been good, . There has been just one virus-related death.
Archives for June 2020
It’s still up in the air…. The Arkalalah committee is holding off making a final decision about whether or not to hold the event until early September. Organizers now say it may or may not take place, but at this point they can’t say for sure. The Kiwanis Club pancake feed is also doubtful, but although it was earlier cancelled, it may in fact be held. The decision on that too will wait. They say the coronavirus makes the event risky, especially since most of the club’s members are older than 65, and it’s held in pretty close quarters, with 500 to 600 people in close proximity at a time, making it most likely just too much of a risk. The Arkalalah Festival Committee said as of Friday, no groups have officially backed out of the festival or canceled their events at this point. Plans for the event are said to still be progressing, and the committee hopes to make a final decision soon. They say now they have set sometime in September as a go or no go time.
Arkansas City shifts to a four-day sanitation schedule this week due to the closure of City offices Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day. The Cowley County Landfill and the Ark City/Winfield Recycling Operations Center in Strother Field
will be closed July 3-4 in observance of Independence Day, maening there will be no recycling. The joint recycling center will reopen for drop-offs from 8 a.m. to noon on July 10 and July 11. The F Street Limb Disposal and Compost Site in Ark City also will be closed Saturday, July 4. Today and Tuesday’s entire routes will be unaffected. All of Wednesday’s route and part of Thursday’s route will be collected Wednesday. The part of Thursday’s route to be collected Wednesday is from Birch Avenue north to Kansas Avenue and from Sixth Street west to 15th Street. The remainder of Thursday’s route and Friday’s entire route will be collected Thursday, July 2. All refuse should be placed at normal pickup locations by 6 a.m. on the scheduled day of pickup. There will be no return pickups.
Starting Saturday, fireworks again will be legal for sale and discharge within the city limits of Arkansas City. The sale and discharge of fireworks are permitted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 27 through July 3, as well as from 10 a.m. to midnight July 4.
City officials urge citizens to enjoy their fireworks responsibly, observe local
ordinances governing their use and be respectful of their neighbors as they celebrate this holiday. Fireworks stands that have permits issued by the City of Arkansas City are located in the parking lots of Spring Hill Golf Course and Westlake Ace Hardware.
The Spring Hill Golf Course stand benefits Angels in the Attic, Inc. and the Westlake Ace Hardware stand will benefit Hillcrest Bible Baptist Church.
The City of Arkansas City and Visit Ark City will present the annual Fourth of July fireworks display on Saturday, July 4. The fireworks show will begin around dusk, or approximately 9:30 p.m. As in years past, the show will be shot from Spring Hill Golf Course. To help to support the fireworks show, you can make a donation through
Visit Ark City at 106 S. Summit St., Arkansas City, KS 67005. For questions about donating or about the fireworks show, contact Visit Ark City Director Pam Crain at (620) 442-0230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creekstone Farms has opened a recruitment and training center in what was… until they began using it… a vacant storefront at 1801 N. Summit St. It is the former home of Verizon and before that Blockbuster video was there. According to their Facebook page, Creekstone is using the location now as a dedicated hiring and training location for new employees…. all in an effort they say, to streamline the application and onboarding process… making the whole process smoother by providing easier access for walk-in applicants and for those returning for employment interviews. If you are looking for work, you may want to check it out. That’s because
Creekstone Farms is currently looking to fill positions in fabrication, harvest, and maintenance departments. Wages begin at $13 per hour, and skilled employees can earn up to $22 per hour. Creekstone now employes more than 1,100, generally operates six days a week, and is undergoing a $100 million expansion. If you would like to submit an application, you can stop in or call the new recruitment center at (620) 741-3294 or you can apply online at www.creekstonefarms.com.
The City of Arkansas City is continuing its annual fire hydrant flushing program, with work proceeding all across southeast Arkansas City starting today. The Environmental Services Department will begin flushing Section 2, which contains a total of 101 fire hydrants along and south of Washington Avenue, south to Lincoln Avenue and the south City limits, and east of A Street, including Sleeth Addition.
Flushing will continue in Section 2 through at least July 8. All flushing will be conducted between 8 and 3 Mondays through Fridays only. Water customers in this area might experience temporary discoloration or low water pressure during
this fire hydrant flushing program. Most discoloration can be corrected by flushing a faucet for a few minutes, but if flushing does not correct the problem or if you continue to notice a pressure loss, call (620) 441-4480 or (620) 441-4492. The Environmental Services Department advises that you do not wash laundry if your water is discolored because that can stain the items permanently. If laundry does become stained, leave the items wet, call The Environmental Services Department and a detergent designed to remove the stains will be delivered to your address.
USD 465’s plans for reopening schools remains on hold because the local district can’t finalize any of its plans until the Kansas Department of Education provides guidance, and that is not expected to happen before at least July 9 or 10. So far, school officials say it will likely involve some combination because families still want to have their students stay at home. If there are kids in classrooms, there will be issues with safety distances and masks. That will all have to be worked out as will details surrounding transportation and food service. School sports also are questionable right now. Some coaches are starting camps July 1, and if they are on school property, they have to follow school rules regarding safe distances and masks. As of now, school officials say they are still hashing over various ideas about how to reopen school, and there are lots of ideas floating around.
Southwestern College has announced a revised calendar for the upcoming Fall semester. The college will begin their semester early and finish before Thanksgiving, allowing for an extended winter break. According to Southwestern College President Brad Andrews , after reviewing the academic calendar, and considering scenarios to provide the highest probability of a healthy and full semester, the school will begin the academic semester one week early on Monday, August 10th, and then will complete that academic semester before Thanksgiving, with the last day of finals being Tuesday, November 24. Additionally, the college has removed Fall Break from the 2020 calendar and will hold classes on Labor Day. Staff at the college are planning a staged move-in and check-in process to bring students back to campus in a coordinated way to reduce contact. Residential students will have a scheduled date and time for move-in with options to arrange for drop-off their belongings ahead of time. The college has a team of staff and faculty serving on a COVID-19 Planning Team. The group has already implemented the Return to Campus Plan which allowed staff to return to work on campus June 1st. The group is now working to finish and implement the Return to School Plan which will outline the procedures and provisions for returning students to campus and for in-person instruction.
Plans to build a homeless shelter in Arkansas City are still active, but they are moving ahead a little slower for now. The Cowley House of Hope shelter will be built on property that has been donated by the Shepherd’s Grace Church in Ark City under plans that have been underway since 2017. RAising the money to build it though, has been a long and slow process. Organizers say they now have about $30,000, much of it raised over the past 18 months. Construction cost estimates now though, are running as high as $75,000, so they say they plan on applying for a lot of grants to make up the difference. Some fundraising efforts have been hobbled by coronavirus, but hopefully they say, those efforts will soon get back on track. According to estimates, there are between 100 to 150 homeless people in Cowley County, but a true and accurate count is difficult due to their transient nature.
Arkansas City Police today, continue investigating an early Saturday morning shooting in which a northwest Arkansas City home was targeted. Officers say it happened just before 2am last Saturday, at a home on the 1700 block of North Ninth Street, where several gunshots were reported. Police say some of the shots hit an occupied residence. A 42-year-old Arkansas City woman who was inside the house at the time was not injured. Witnesses reported hearing several gunshots and seeing a dark-colored vehicle take off abruptly. The make and model of that vehicle are unknown. Anyone with information should contact the Arkansas City Police
Department at (620) 441-4444. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can contact Cowley County Crime Stoppers, which offers rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest.