On Thursday, ground was broken at the corner of Ninth and Fuller in Winfield, for the second phase of the safety center that will house the Winfield police and fire departments. When finished, the project will incorporate the current fire department building, which was built in 1886, which is one of the oldest fire stations west of the Mississippi River still used for its original purpose. It was built in the days of horse drawn fire engines, which have since given way to trucks that are getting bigger and bigger, meaning space has been getting tighter and tighter. The new addition will include six large apparatus bays, a training tower, decontamination and areas for firefighter and paramedic gear. It will add about 13,000 square feet to the existing fire station.
Archives for October 2020
There is now a new Chief Finanical Officer at Arkansas City Medical Center. Debbie Hockenbury… the former CFO at the hospital in Winfield, took over the Ark City position this week. Hockenbury stepped into her new job this past Wednesday, and she will now become the third person to hold that position since Holly Harper left in September 2018 to head up the finance department at Cowley College. Expectations are high, as Hockenbury has 18 years of knowledge in the field, and hospital administrators say medical field knowledge is priceless. The medical center has struggled financially in recent years, and now with more losses being attributed to the coronavirus situation, a lazer focus on financials is critical. Hockenbury has extensive experience in hospital finances. She began her career in 2003 and in 2013 took over as CFO at William Newton Hospital, where she served until June 2018. She was a cost accountant at Skyline Champion homebuilders from January 2019 until this month.
Following that big ice storm Tuesday, Arkansas City has begun the long process of digging out and cleaning up fallen tree limbs and branches. The Public Services Department spent the last few days focused entirely on making sure major roadways were passable. They are now shifting their efforts to smaller residential streets and alleyways. Residents who are able to do so are asked to remove limbs and branches from the nearby streets and pile them curbside for pickup. If you are unable to do so, call (620) 441-4460 during business hours. To report a large tree limb blocking a road, call (620) 441-3766. Curbside pickup should begin by next week and will likely continue for at least two weeks. The F Street Limb and Compost Site is open for extended hours… 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
In Arkansas City and the surrounding area, as the ice melts away, the mess left behind continues to pile up, and now city officials say it could take at least two weeks to clean up. Ark City Public Information Officer, Andrew Lawson, said yesterday, that every available employee from the park and street departments has been working full-time to remove the tree limbs that are scattered just about everywhere across the city. First, the busiest roads need to be cleared, and then the crews will focus on the less traveled streets. For those who are trying to clean up their own yards, Lawson said the burn pit would extend its hours. He says the gate will remain unlocked during the day, and everyone is welcome to make use of the facility between 8am and 4pm every day but Saturday.
Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor has confirmed two positive cases of COVID-19 after rapid point-of-care tests. The two residents first tested positive on Monday and
standard COVID-19 tests were administered as a follow-up. The results were received late on Tuesday. These positive tests bring their 7-day total to 2 residents and 2 employees, all in the health care center. But they did get good news following mass testing of 155 people including residents in the health care center and all campus employees on Tuesday… All residents and employees tested on Tuesday were negative for COVID-19.
Arkansas City Police have joined in with other law enforcement agencies in aggressively enforcing seat belt usage, especially by children aged 0-13, and other laws as part of a 2020 traffic enforcement campaign. Local drivers can expect to see increased police presence on city streets, especially around local schools, to stop what has been likened to an epidemic in Kansas. In 2019, eight children from birth up to the age of 13 lost their lives due to car crashes in Kansas. Sadly, 62 percent of those children were not wearing their seat belts.
Power interruptions were widespread Tuesday in the Cowley County area, after freezing rain caused falling branches and downed power lines. In Arkansas City, workers were said to be stretched to the breaking point, after all of Ark City, along with Strother Field and the surrounding area lost power yesterday morning around 11. City crews connected generators to run traffic lights, along with manually directing traffic and adding some temporary stop signs. There were no reports of any major incidents though, as most drivers slowed down and paid attention. Cowley County Commission Chairman Wayne Wilt approved a local disaster emergency proclamation which will remain in effect for the next seven days. Winfield residents are asked to place tree limbs that came down at the curb for pickup, but if they have a way to get them to the compost site on their own, city officials say that would be a big help. As always, folks continue to be warned… if you come across a downed power line… do not approach it! It could be live.
The U.S. Supreme Court should affirm a lower court ruling that strengthens the main federal law used to fight robocalls to cellphones… that is the opinion anyway, of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt joined the attorneys general of 36 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a brief last week with the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal filed by social media giant Facebook. The states are asking the justices to affirm a lower court ruling that supported a broad definition of “automatic telephone dialing system,” commonly called “autodialers,” based on the plain language in the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which generally prohibits the use of autodialers or an artificial or pre-recorded voice to make a call to cell phone users. At issue is whether autodialers include only a device that can store and dial numbers it generates, or whether autodialers also includes devices that select a random number from numbers on a targeted list. The attorneys general argue that “Facebook’s attempt to limit TCPA’s application to autodialers that use number generators misreads the statute’s words and all other Congressonal intent.
Effective immediately, Arkansas City is implementing Stage 1 of its Water Conservation Plan, which will stay in effect indefinitely. Everyone is asked to curtail outdoor water use and to make efficient use of indoor water, such as by washing full loads of laundry, taking short showers, not letting faucets run endlessly. On Sunday, ARkansas City observed a notable drop in water reserves in its Bryant Road standpipe due to a combination of a fire being battled and a substantial break in a 20-inch water main near the old high-service pump station.
A downtown Ark City motel, which has been used as long-term, low-income housing… is shutting down. The manager of the Town House Motel… Sandy Hawkins…. told the local newspaper that the owner of the motel posted a notice, stating that it was closing due to COVID-19. That announcement, according to Hawkins, came with no warning. The very next day, the owner had the electricity turned off, and the residents were left without power, and without a place to live, without notice. Although the power has since been turned back on, the fate of the motel and some of the residents remains up in the air. The motel owner reportedly had asked for the water to be shut off, but before the city took that action, he called back and told them to leave the water on.