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USD 409 Board decides on Phoenix mascot
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The Phoenix is the new mascot for the USD 409 Public Schools.

Board members officially adopted the mascot by 5 votes after some discussion among themselves and two public comment heard as well as a petition with about 700 signatures imploring board members not to proceed at this time, but to gather more input and consider other options.

Board member Dr. John Eplee abstained from voting, and Board Member Brandi Ross was absent from the meeting.

Eplee, Board Member Sean Crittendon and Board Member Stefanie Gardner were present for the meeting via Zoom.

Eplee said he has heard from district stakeholders and conveyed his belief that most are understanding about the reasoning to change the mascot, but would like more time before to hear of more options to consider concerning mascot choices.

Vice-president Diane Liebsch seconded the motion to adopt the Phoenix after Crittendon moved to proceed with the change. Liebsch said she had reached out to some officials at other schools where Phoenix is the mascot. All were satisfied with the Phoenix.

The Phoenix is not singular or plural and it is not of male or female gender, but a neutral symbol by all aspects. Liebsch said it was made known that board members were in agreement after they made the decision in April to re-name the mascot that their common goal was to start the new schoolyear with the new mascot in place.

Mascot imagery has yet to be decided, but the outcome of mascot committee work determined colors for all Atchison Public Schools will be red and yellow color scheme like has been utilized at Atchison High School.

All USD 409 students are invited to submit drawings of what they think the new Phoenix mascot should look like. Submit the artwork by Thursday, July 22. Submit name, username and photo associated with your Google account that will be recorded when students upload files and form via the following link. http://track.spe.schoolmessenger.com/f/a/5qi2_pdtdaHoSk943LxQzQ~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRiz0jzP0RjaHR0cHM6Ly9kb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20vZm9ybXMvZC9lLzFGQUlwUUxTY0o3ME9Bd00zWlNmVDh4Q2g3UHJsNVFwaU9BWmxvNnBtRGxnaWRZSloxU0xPSVd3L3ZpZXdmb3JtVwdzY2hvb2xtQgpg7XMV7mDrlklTUhVtYXJ5Lm1leWVyc0BucGdjby5jb21YBAAAAAE~.

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U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner visits Atchison
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U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner stopped Wednesday afternoon in Atchison for a while to visit the historic Atchison County Courthouse and a Town Hall meeting at Atchison Public Library.

Congressman LaTurner touched base with constituents about ongoing work in Washington D.C. like balancing the budget, border patrol, energy, infrastructure funding and cyber security. He also reminded his constituents that whenever they have governmental concerns or issues to contact him through his support staff via one of his offices located throughout the Kansas 2nd Congressional District.

“It is important to me to provide good service,” LaTurner said.

Constituents also expressed some of their views in agreement and disagreement about the current issues in Washington D. C. The Congressman

To contact Rep. Jake LaTurner, Kansas 2nd District: Mail letters to 3550 S.W. Fifth Street, Topeka, KS 66612, or call 785-205-5253.

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Rock Inn slated for possible demolition
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All but one of the structures at 1118 N. 7th Street are facing demolition and the City Commission will be having a public hearing regarding the matter during its next meeting on Monday.

The buildings across from LFM Park often referred to as the old Rock Inn has been vacant for many years, and with many holes in the roof has been taking on water and is no longer structurally sound. City leaders have been hesitant to demolish the property in hopes that a new purpose could be found and that it would be saved and brought up to safety standards.

The City owns the buildings and is having the public hearing to give any interested parties an opportunity to speak on behalf of the property and give a chance for someone to step up and take on a potential reconstruction project. Barring a reliable plan for the space, the demolition will likely take place in the next few weeks.

The poor state of the property has led to safety concerns which were brought to light recently when police responded to a call about three children playing around the facility. The officer responded to find three children under the age of 10 playing on the roof of the main building, which has many holes and poses a concern. With the building’s proximity to LFM Park also taken into consideration, it is possible that if nobody steps up to repair the facility that it could be in the public interest to tear it down.

“We’d rather see someone step up and save the building, but we can’t ignore the safety issues that exist,” Assistant City Manager Justin Pregont said. “We recognize that there is some historical significance involved and that’s why we’ve been reluctant to tear it down. But now that we’ve actively had children playing around it, we can’t afford to take that risk any longer.”

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 19 in the Commission Room in Atchison City Hall.

Please direct questions to Joe Warren, Director of Administrative Services, at 367-5500, or joew@cityof atchison.com.

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Health officials urge COVID-19 vaccinations
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Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Atchison County. The county has 23 active cases as of today.

The good news is that we can stop it! Everyone needs to do their part, school is just around the corner, students will be returning from all parts of the country. We need our children to be in school. We need to protect each other. COVID-19 has devastated the world, families have lost loved ones, citizens have struggled physically, mentally, and financially. The vaccine is FREE and available to everyone age 12 and up. Testing is free and available to everyone.

The recommendations are:

Stay home if you are sick and get “tested.”

If you have been tested because you are ill, “stay home” until you have received your test results.

Avoid touching your face.

Wash your hands often.

Get vaccinated!

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Amberwell Hiawatha CEO retirement announced - Atchison CEO to assume dual role
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Amberwell Health announced Monday that John Broberg, MA, FACHE, Amberwell Hiawatha Chief Executive Officer, has set his retirement date to be effective Aug. 31.

Upon Broberg’s retirement, the Chief Executive Officer of Amberwell Atchison, Jeff Perry, will assume the CEO role at Amberwell Atchison and Amberwell Hiawatha.

Over his 49 years in healthcare, Broberg has served as a senior leader for 29 years and as Chief Executive Officer at four different hospitals. After retiring from Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan in 2016, Broberg started Broberg Consulting Group, LLC to provide executive coaching and CEO services. Mr. Broberg’s commitment to Hiawatha has been tremendous with a focus to strengthen the future of healthcare in Hiawatha and surrounding communities. He first joined Hiawatha Community Hospital, now Amberwell Hiawatha, as interim CEO in 2016 and then returned to accept a full-time role in 2019. Broberg leaves a truly impactful mark on northeast Kansas health. His foresight to encourage and play a key role in creating the affiliation with Amberwell Health was ground-breaking for rural health.

Jeff Perry brings 29 years of healthcare experience to Amberwell Hiawatha, of which 23 years have been in management roles. He served 8 years as a combat medic and nurse, holds a doctorate in Health Administration, and is a Fellow of American College of Healthcare Executives. Mr. Perry has resided in Atchison, KS since 2019. “Raising a family in a great location has always been a priority for me,” says Mr. Perry, “and I believe NE Kansas is a wonderful place to accomplish this. I look forward to working to strengthen healthcare in Atchison, Hiawatha, and surrounding communities throughout NE Kansas.”

Over the four months since the affiliation of Amberwell Hiawatha and Amberwell Health was announced, both organizations have begun aligning processes and sharing resources to grow and improve access to care for northeast Kansas communities. Amberwell Health is committed to continue the impact that Mr. Broberg has made by ensuring growth of the healthcare model that includes facility improvements and growth in services at Amberwell Hiawatha.

Dr. Brian Duncan will be joining Amberwell Health on September 15 and will provide orthopedic surgery and clinic services in both Hiawatha and in Atchison. In additional news, Amberwell Hiawatha will welcome a new Chief Nursing Officer Nichole Chamley, MSN, RN and facility improvements will be made to the surgical department. The community has been extremely supportive through the transition to the Amberwell brand and we look forward to the expansion of services that is to come through the progress forward as an integrated healthcare system.