Stevens County’s three commissioners Joe D. Thompson, Tron Stegman and Pat Hall convened Monday, August 21 for their regular meeting.

The agenda for the meeting was relatively full, as was the Commissioners’ Room. Wayne Tate, Tom Hicks, Paula Rowden and John Brower with the Stevens County Foundation came in to speak with the commissioners about possible uses for the fund. The Stevens County Foundation was formed in 2003, and the fund currently sits at $5.3 million. Wayne told Pat, Joe D. and Tron the purpose of the fund is to mitigate the effects of the county’s decreased valuation. Tax-supported entities promoting the quality of life are the focus of the fund. The money should be used to support things normally funded by the county that are no longer possible to pay with county dollars.

Basically the purpose of the Foundation Board’s visit was to establish some dialogue between the two entities. The group couldn’t recall even one formal request for use of funds, so a little publicity may be warranted. Wayne Tate commented, “It doesn’t do us any good to sit with $5.3 million while the town or county withers away.”

Commissioners agreed they would go over department budgets to evaluate where some of the money could be best used.

To read the rest of this article, check out this week’s
Hermes – available now – by clicking here to subscribe!

Stay safe watching Monday’s eclipse

Join thousands of Americans this coming Monday, August 21 and get outside to see the solar eclipse! Stevens County’s prime time for viewing will be convenient for most – with the eclipse starting around 11:30 a.m. and ending around 2:20 p.m. The best time to see the eclipse – for southwest Kansans – should be around 12:55 p.m. The sun is projected to be 86% eclipsed at the max point.

A total solar eclipse in the United States is nothing to sneeze at – the last one took place in 1979. This year’s promises to be the most-watched eclipse in human history. You’re encouraged to get out and take a look – but please remember to be safe! If you don’t heed warnings, you’re risking severe optical injury!

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers.

Instructions for Safe Use of Solar Filters/Viewers

• ALWAYS inspect your solar filter before use: if scratched, punctured, torn or otherwise damaged, discard it.
Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
 supervise children using solar filters.
• If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter.
DO NOT remove it while looking at the sun.
DO NOT look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
• Similarly, DO NOT look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer – the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.
• Outside the path of totality, you must ALWAYS use a safe solar filter to look at the sun directly.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you’ll see the ground dappled with crescent suns project by the tiny spaces between the leaves.

To find out more about the solar eclipse August 21, please click here. You’ll find all kinds of information, including a map showing your exact location’s eclipse-viewing projections!

Happy viewing!

City Council opts to approve 3.74 mill increase

The Hugoton City Council met August 7, 2017 for the regular monthly meeting at the council meeting room. Attending the meeting were Mayor Jack E. Rowden and councilmen Dean Banker, Shannon Crawford, Jason Teeter and Frankie Thomas. Also present were City Clerk Thomas G. Hicks, Outside Utilities Supervisor Paul Nordyke, Police Chief Courtney Leslie, City Attorney Wayne R. Tate, Carrie Baeza, Mary Beth Crawford, Black Hills’ Deana Burkhart, Black Hills’ Ronnie Sumner, and Hugoton Hermes reporter Ruthie Winget. Councilman Dan Corpening, City Inspector Josh Grubbs and Electric Park Systems Supervisor Gary Rowden were absent.

The minutes of last month’s meeting were read and approved.

The July municipal judge’s report was presented, showing 29 new cases brought before the court and $1,120.00 remitted to the city. The council approved this report.

The city inspector’s written report was presented to the council. His report stated KDI’s tanks are done. They are working on the electrical, mechanical and process equipment now. Dirt work has begun for My Father’s House Church located at 408 E. First Street. The Musgrove Insurance remodel has also begun. The city inspector reported a lot of code violation letters have been sent out concerning weeds.

Deanna Burkhart and Ronnie Sumner of Black Hills Energy made the annual public relations appearance on behalf of the local natural gas provider. Outside Utilities Supervisor Paul Nordyke reported the city had recently experienced a delayed response to an emergency one call by the gas company’s locate provider. The local employees were unavailable to respond. Sumner told Nordyke to call him. Burkhart added the the city could contact Black Hills’ emergency number.

To read the rest of this article, check out this week’s
Hermes – available now – by clicking here to subscribe!

This year’s Stevens County Fair is in the books after countless hours of work. All ages of Stevens County youngsters were awarded ribbons for their various projects. Below are the individuals who won Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion ribbons for their animals.


Nick Gold – Grand Champion
Molly McClure – Reserve Grand Champion


Lainey Cox – Grand Champion
Hannah Cox – Reserve Grand Champion

Bucket Calf

Faith Beesley – Grand Champion
Morgan Niehues – Reserve Grand Champion


Nick Gold – Grand Champion
Heidi Bogan – Reserve Grand Champion


Hannah Cox – Grand Champion
Lainey Cox – Reserve Grand Champion


Laramie Brecheisen – Grand Champion
Tobias Grubbs – Reserve Grand Champion


Jacob Bell – Grand Champion
Joseph Hignett – Reserve Grand Champion


Sydney Beesley – Grand Champion
Emma McClure – Reserve Grand Champion

Congratulations to all who participated and
great job at the 2o17 Stevens County Fair!

For more results, please see page 6 of this week’s Hermes – you can subscribe here!

Above photo: A great group of kids makes up this year’s Parade of Champions at the Fair Friday night. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are Lindy McClure, Hannah Cox, Lainey Cox, Tobias Grubbs, Joshua Burrows, Clayton Grubbs, Madison Kurts, Eli Penrod and Maggie White. In the middle row are Rebecca Johnson, Elisha Staggers, Grace Dillinger, Faith Beesley, Stormy Heger, Jayden Burrows and Sydney Beesley. In the back row are Jacob Bell, Catie Gooch, Allen Shelton, Megan Newlon, Raegan Hinds, Nick Gold and Laramie Brecheisen.

Nordyke selected as American Star finalist

Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. Austin Nordyke, a member of the Hugoton FFA chapter, will be awarded the American FFA Degree at the Ninetieth National FFA Convention and Expo October 26 in Indianapolis, In. The award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs.

To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own or hold a professional position in an existing agricultural enterprise. Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement.

Saturday, July 22, the National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience. Hugoton FFA’s Austin Nordyke has officially been named one of them!

To read the rest of this article, check out this week’s
Hermes – available now – by clicking here to subscribe online!

Stevens County Fair promises fun for all

It’s Fair time again! Stevens County’s annual Fair will begin in earnest Thursday, July 20, with the 4-H Fashion Revue at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Hall. Reigning over the fair will be the couple featured in the photo above. Doug and Rita Mills are lifetime Stevens County residents, and they’re proud to be the Stevens County Fair King and Queen this year. Their bio can be found in this week’s issue of The Hugoton Hermes. Congratulations Doug and Rita!

Friday evening, 15 Stevens County girls will compete for the crown beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Sorghum Queen contest in the Middle School Auditorium.

Saturday morning, get out to the Fairgrounds for the horse show at 8:30 a.m. The 4-H classes will go first, followed by open class entries. Timed events will be last. Later Saturday evening, head out to Dirtona for some action with the Monster Truck, Tuff Truck and UTV Challenge starting at 7:00 p.m. Read More →

BOE opts for semester grading at HHS

USD 210’s Board of Education met Monday, July 10 at Central Office on Main Street. Board members Barry Hittle, Todd Gayer and Dettra Crawford were absent.

Paula Rowden was elected BOE President and Mike Persinger was elected BOE Vice President. Kim Korf was appointed as Board Clerk, Davonna Daharsh as Deputy Clerk and Arlet Estrada as District Treasurer.

The board approved board appointments required by statutes; graduation activities for 2018; 1116 hours for the 2017-2018 school year; and authorized Adrian Howie as representative for Title I, II, and III for 2017-2018 and as district purchasing agent. The board approved the renewal of food services/ special milk application and designated The Hugoton Hermes as district newspaper.

The board also established petty cash funds and adopted the resolution to rescind previous policy statements. USD 210 established a mileage reimbursement rate at $0.50 per mile and voted to destroy school records as per statute. The board acknowledged ADA and Section 504 policies and procedures and adopted the Home Rule resolution and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principal Waiver (GAAP).

The adoption of the resolution to establish activity funds was approved. the BOE meeting dates are as follows: August 14, 2017, September 11, 2017, October 9, 2017, November 13, 2017, December 11, 2017, January 8, 2018, February 12, 2018, March 19, 2018, April 9, 2018, May 14, 2018, June 11, 2018 and July 9, 2018.

To read the rest of this article, check out this week’s
Hermes – available now – by clicking here to subscribe online!

Attention, Stevens County beauties! The 2017 Sorghum Queen competition will be July 21, 2017 at the Hugoton Middle School auditorium. This is Pollyanna’s yearly fundraiser. They award three scholarships to graduating seniors every year. They also give a Patriotic award to any senior who is going into the military service. An admission fee will be charged to attend the contest.

Pictures of the group of contestants will be taken July 17, 2017 at Parsons Park at Main and Eighth Street at 7:30 p.m. Entry forms and sponsor fee checks payable to Pollyannas will be due that date. Forms can be picked up and returned to 1013 S. Polk anytime prior to the deadline, or brought to the park July 17 when the pictures are taken.

So come one and all, young ladies, to pick up your forms for the contest soon.

Sales tax increase effective July 1

Stevens County’s interlocal agreement with the City of Hugoton, regarding the one percent tax increase, has been approved by the Kansas Attorney General’s office.
The one-cent sales tax increase will go into effect Saturday, July 1.
Stevens County’s effective tax rate will be 9.0 percent as of July 1, 2017. For the next two years, the County will receive 100% of the increase, with the hope of easing the property tax burden on local taxpayers. After the first two years, the City of Hugoton will receive a portion of the sales tax increase.

School board talks tests and finances

USD 210’s Board of Education met Monday, June 19 at Central Office’s new Main Street location. Board members Barry Hittle and Paula Rowden were absent.

Dawson Kerbow and Jacob Eckert, two members of the HHS boys’ State Champion track team came to the meeting, and Athletic Director C.J. Korf presented them with a certificate of recognition. The boys’ families also attended to see them honored.

Board members then reviewed district-wide assessment data, as presented by Superintendent Adrian Howie. Information from the state assessment, AIMSweb, MAP and even ACT tests was carefully evaluated by administrators. Mr. Howie acknowledged that “teaching to the test” is not the district’s goal – “teaching and learning” is the goal of Hugoton schools. All the tests’ data can provide a snapshot of each individual student and indicate whether help is needed.

HHS Principal Melody Witt discussed with the board the desire for the high school to move to a semester grading system instead of the former nine-week grading period. This policy is more aligned with the way colleges grade. The board will continue this discussion at the July meeting.

CJ Korf then presented two different Dual Activity policies for the board to review before July’s meeting. Board members agreed a formal policy could help settle disputes when they arise. Mr. Howie told the board building handbooks and changes for the coming year were available to look over.

Board members approved pursuit of early childhood grants to benefit the preschool program and Parents As Teachers. They then talked about the classified pay scale, and Mr. Howie reported he will ask for approval of the scale at July’s meeting. Teachers’ absences were also discussed, and the superintendent told the board the district had spent $15,000 under budget on substitutes.

Board members and Superintendent Howie then entered executive session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel changes. Upon exiting executive session, board members opted to terminate the employment of Sandra Ruiz and Mara Martinez. The board also approved personnel changes as recommended by Mr. Howie.

To read the rest of this article, check out this week’s
Hermes – available now – by clicking here to subscribe online!