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March 2, 2017
Harvey County IndependentMarch 2, 2017 Harvey County Independent

Halstead, Sedgwick EMS Make Temporary Agreement

Posted 3/2/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Halstead City Council agreed to form a temporary agreement with Sedgwick for EMS service for four months from March to June during their council meeting Monday night. The decision comes as Sedgwick is officially without an ambulance license as of March 1.

The motion was passed with little discussion by the council in public, although the council did start the meeting with a closed session of about 30 minutes for matters deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship.

After the public meeting resumed, outgoing County Administrator John Waltner addressed the council about a temporary agreement for EMS service.

“I’m coming to you to just ask you to seriously consider entering into this agreement with the City of Sedgwick, knowing that it’s going to require a commitment on the part of some of your staff to engage in more conversation with the City of Sedgwick,” Waltner said. “Harvey County will indeed be glad to work with those conversations, to do everything we can to try to get people to reach an agreement that everyone can live with that will provide service.”

Waltner explained that the county distributes tax money to the different EMS services in Harvey County based on their service area. Sedgwick receives about $35,000 a year from the county, made in quarterly installments. He said the county would send these tax dollars to Halstead EMS for the four months of service in this temporary agreement.

“I don’t view this as a permanent solution at all,” Waltner said. “I think it’s a way of providing service in the meantime.”

Sedgwick council member Kirby Stucky also briefly addressed the Halstead council.

“We’re certainly in a dire situation,” he said. “We’d appreciate any help you can give us.

It’s a pretty muddy and rocky road for us, but we are trying to get this resolved.”

Right before the motion was passed, council member Dennis Travis did emphasize that this is only a temporary solution.

“I’d just like to point out that the temporary agreement is going to come with a deadline,” Travis said. “I would like to encourage your governing body to be proactive in finding a solution. We shouldn’t be putting the burden on our citizens to offer you guys services, but we’re going to be a good neighbor.”

Mayor Bill Ewert noted that Halstead and Sedgwick already have a working relationship with their animal control officer.

“We’d like to think we’re good neighbors to each other, and this certainly is a situation of humanitarian effort, and we would not want to shirk our responsibility in that,” Ewert said.

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Class Of 2020 Commits To Graduate

Posted 3/2/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Keeping with an annual tradition at Halstead High School, members of the freshmen Class of 2020 took part in a Commitment to Graduate assembly last Wednesday afternoon. Lining the stage of the high school auditorium, students took pen in hand, and signed their names to a large banner that will be hung up at the school.

“For some of you, you’ve already decided you are going to graduate from high school; you’ve already made that decision,” Principal Joe GerbFRESHMEN at Halstead signed a banner last Wednesday committing to graduate from high school.FRESHMEN at Halstead signed a banner last Wednesday committing to graduate from high school.er told the students as they prepared to sign their commitment. “(But) there are some of you sitting there that haven’t made that decision.” He added that for those who weren’t convinced yet, hopefully by the end of the assembly they would be.

To demonstrate the difference that a high school diploma can make in life, high school teachers lined up on stage with posters representing a person’s life timeline. The decision to graduate from high school represented a fork in the road with one path leading to limited options and greater chances of unemployment, poor health and poverty, and the other leading to opportunities for further education and higher salaries.

“Not all decisions you make in your life are equal,” Gerber said. “There are some that are a lot more important than others….This is a big one. This is one you have to get right.”

Students learned that the average annual salary for people with a high school diploma is $30,048, and this only goes up depending on additional certifications or post-secondary degrees.

In recent years, Halstead’s graduation rate percentage-wise has been in the high 80s to low 90s, according to Gerber. Given Halstead’s small class sizes, this represents about two or three students who don’t graduate each year.

Gerber said his goal is to see every student graduate, which has never been done during his six years as principal.

“One (dropout) is too many,” Gerber said. “We’re not happy unless there’s a 100 percent graduation rate,” but he added that this must be achieved without lowering Halstead’s standards.

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Burrton Fire District Looking To Hire EMS Director

Posted 3/2/2017

By Pilar Martin

BURRTON—The Burrton Consolidated Fire District #5 Board  had its monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 27. With EMS Director Rusty Walter announcing his intent to retire, and Fire Chief Jon Roberts injured, the District has to find a way to keep the department going. Duties have been divided up amongst volunteer members and the District has decided to try to hire a new Assistant EMS Director.

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Redinger said he had talked to a few people in the community who might be interested in the position. “We need a job description so I can give them some more information,” Redinger said.

Chairman of the Fire Board Troy Mueller added they needed to determine what training or requirements they wanted for that position and how many hours they would be expected to work. Clark Kirk proposed that a job description be written and presented at the April meeting. “We have to have a person in that position so we can sign for our license,” Kirk added.

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