NEWTON – At last Tuesday’s Newton City Commission meeting, the board approved a contract for design and construction drawings for a proposed new Newton Public Library in Military Park.
The City and Library Board in June 2020 approved an agreement to proceed with the estimated $8.5 million project, with the City funding $4.5 million, the library $1.3 million, and $2.7 million raised from private donors.
Over the past year, fundraising consultant Swanson House and a team of local volunteers have secured $1.4 million in pledges so far, exceeding a goal of raising half the private funding by the end of the year, Director of Communications Erin McDaniel reported in a news release.
The public phase of fundraising will now begin and continue as the design phase begins.
The City Commission on Tuesday approved HBM Architects moving forward with schematic design, design development, and construction documents for $880,000, McDaniel reported.
Once design documents are complete and an architect’s estimate is established, the plans will come back to the City Commission to put the project out for bid. That’s anticipated at the end of 2022.
The design concept is a one-story building incorporating natural light, flexible use of space and drive-up services, McDaniel stated. Plans also include on-site parking and re-orienting the building to make better use of the green space in the park.
The new library will be east and south of the existing building, allowing the library to remain in operation during construction.
Heartland, Farmers Credit Unions announce merger plan
Farmers Credit Union of Hays will become part of Heartland Credit Union of Hutchinson under a merger the institutions announced last week.
The branch in Hays will join the eight HCU branches in Hutchinson, Haven, Newton and Wichita, including the Salthawk Center Branch inside Hutchinson High School. The combined credit unions will operate under the Heartland Credit Union name and leadership team.
Initial discussions regarding a merger started after Farmers President Guy Forell announced his intention to leave the credit union later in 2021. All other Farmers Credit Union employees will be retained. Farmers Credit Union will be entering into a management agreement with Heartland to ensure a smooth transition for members and employees.
The boards of directors of both credit unions approved the move, which will create a credit union with just over $500 million in assets and 33,000 members.
“Our goal at Farmers Credit Union has always been to do what is right for our members,” stated Darren Walters, Board Chair of Farmers Credit Union.
“After evaluating several options and having extensive discussions regarding the future of the credit union, the decision to partner with Heartland Credit Union became clear,” Walters said. “Their culture and commitment to excellent member service and superior products assure us this is the right move for our members.”
“We are excited for the opportunity to welcome Farmers Credit Union members to Heartland,” State Dan Springer, Heartland Credit Union President/CEO. “Our wide range of financial products, along with market-leading rates, will provide excellent value to their members. It will also provide HCU the opportunity to expand our coverage area, better serving the growing number of Heartland members in central Kansas.”
The merger is contingent on final due diligence, regulatory approval, and a vote of the membership. Once regulatory approval is received, a merger packet and ballot will be made available to all members in good standing. This should take place in the first quarter of 2022.
Farmers Credit Union was founded in 1953 by a group of farmers with proceeds from a bake sale. It now serves over 1,000 members with assets of over $17 million. It provides consumer loan and deposit products to any resident of Ellis County and adjoining counties, as well as agricultural and commercial loans.
Area museum wins award for its ‘Vapes’ exhibit
NORTH NEWTON – Kauffman Museum took home another award from the Kansas Museums Association, this time for the use of technology in its current special exhibit.
“Vapes: Marketing an Addiction” is currently at the museum on the Bethel College campus.
At the KMA annual conference in Lawrence, Nov. 3-5, Kauffman Museum won a Technology Award for “Vapes,” which has five electronic or digital components.
“Vapes” examines three intertwined narratives: the rise and fall of cigarette smoking and associated advertising in the 20th century; the advent of e-cigarettes in the 21st century with new social media-based marketing strategies driving this emerging market; and the challenges of addiction, nicotine, quitting nicotine, and being an advocate for change.
The exhibit includes a video about STAND, a group of Newton-area youth who joined community leaders to successfully advocate for a local policy that raised the minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes. It also provides space for visitors to share their stories and questions.
“With this project, we wanted to stretch outside our comfort zone to tell the 21st-century story of e-cigarettes by creating a space that would appeal to an ‘underage’ audience while helping older viewers feel the energy and excitement created by e-cigarette marketing,” said Chuck Regier, Kauffman Museum curator of exhibits.
The museum design and fabrication team achieved this goal by integrating audiovisual units into the display modules.
“The resulting project has been a successful and invigorating collaboration between senior and retired museum staff, younger museum staff and the neighboring business, Flint Hills Design,” stated Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum director.
When the exhibit ends at the museum it will be available as a traveling exhibit. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 316-283-1612.
Kauffman Museum, Main and 27th streets in North Newton., is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Admission to exhibits is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. Visit www.kauffmanmuseum.org or Kauffman Museum’s Facebook page to learn more.
Advanced EMT Course offered at GCCC
GARDEN CITY – Garden City Community College will offer an Advanced EMT course in the Spring 2022 semester.
The course is designed for students interested in advancing their skills in providing care to patients in the pre-hospital setting. It will provide the student with opportunities to gain information, skills, and attitudes necessary for certification and practice as an AEMT in the state of Kansas.
Classroom instruction will include lectures, skills demonstrations, and skills labs. In addition, the student will be required to complete clinical and field internship hours with affiliated EMS services that provide advanced life support.
Additional clinical or field experience may be added at the discretion of the instructor or medical director. Immunization and COVID immunization status are required.
This course runs from Jan. 10 through May 5 and meets Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students must hold current EMT Certification and current American Heart Basic Life Support Certification.
Enrollment is now open. New students will need to apply for admission at https://www.gcccks.edu/admissions/admission_app_landing.aspx. Current students should contact their advisor to enroll.
10th Street Eye Care partners with Family Crisis Center
GREAT BEND – The 10th Street Eyecare Center partnered with the Family Crisis Center Inc. in Great Bend to accept donations from the community during the week of Thanksgiving.
The Eyecare Center was a drop-off location leading up to the holiday for household item donations, such as pillows, hygiene products, sheet sets, gift cards, towels and more for The Family Crisis Center, a domestic and sexual violence center, child advocacy center, and shelter offering services in the Great Bend area.
The 10th Street Eyecare Center is a leader in optometric healthcare, offering everything from routine eye exams and diagnostic testing to retail glasses and contacts and frame repair. For more information or to make an appointment, call 620-792-2020 or visit www.10thstreeteyecare.com.
StartUp Hutch announces Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge results
StartUp Hutch, in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, hosted the annual Reno County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on Nov. 23rd using a virtual platform.
Students from across Reno County high schools presented business concepts with a written business plan, a 4-minute presentation, and a 2-minute elevator pitch to local volunteer judges Joe Young, Jeff Eriksen, Tony Scheuler, Russell Silvey, Eric Spurgeon, and Jon Richardson.
The winning concepts were: 1st Place (winning $600): Dalton Estes and Riley Lusk, Hutchinson High School, The Sweet Treat; 2nd Place (winning $500): Gabriella Voss, Haven High School, Simpler Laundry; and 3rd Place (winning $400): Braydon Blubaugh and Jacob Moore, Haven High School, JB Pro Sports.
“This is Reno County’s sixth year hosting the competition,” said Dave Dukart, Program Administrator at StartUp Hutch. “It couldn’t have been done without our volunteer judges and the work that NetWork Kansas has put into this statewide event.”
In addition to the prize money and recognition at the Reno County competition, first-place competitors Estes and Lusk will have the opportunity to compete in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge held at Kansas State University in Manhattan. The event will include the top young entrepreneurs from schools across the state.
The other Reno County participants are invited to submit their business ideas for an at-large spot in the statewide competition.
“This challenge is a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on entrepreneurship experience,” said Jackson Swearer, Entrepreneur Navigator and Director of StartUp Hutch. “Even if they do not go on to start this particular business, we hope this challenge encourages them to think of Reno County as a place where they could begin their future careers when the time does come.”
For more information on StartUp Hutch resources and upcoming events, or to join their community of entrepreneurs and business owners, visit www.startuphutch.com.