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County fair bouncing back from COVID year
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Caitlyn Gentry was organizing the open class craft exhibits as she placed the prize ribbons onto the respective entries in the Blue Building at the 2021 Atchison County Fair.

It’s a volunteer job she’s undertaken for several years; that is until the fair festivities and exhibits were interrupted and mostly at a standstill from the usual fair tradition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s bounced back pretty well,” Gentry said of the zero exhibits allowed in 20202 to the numbers that appeared to fill the department as in a few years prior to the pandemic.

Gentry worked at the Atchison County Extension Office in 2019, at a time when the beef projects exhibits had experienced a drop.

Three year Board of Directors member Margo Ellerman said being able to see the kids who participate in the events grow over the years is something she takes pleasure in.

“I like to see the kids compete and then watch them from year-to-year improve, become better leaders and get more involved and start to run some things themselves,” Ellerman said.

Leota Flory and Nancy Kleopper are daughters of Darwin and Eileen Acheson. A lifetime of involvement, attendance and volunteerism at the Atchison County Fair has been a constant for Acheson family members. Throughout the years they’ve volunteered in various departments supporting the younger generations in the family.

Flory said she’s always made it a point to come out and watch her great nieces and nephews show their livestock. Last year she was present, but in 2020 there wasn’t a show where 4-Hers brought their livestock, unloaded it, weighed it and then took it home. Photographs were taken for the 4-Hers to bring back the night of the sale.

“I believe it is more enjoyable when they can show their projects,” Flory said, adding she expects the crowd might be down in numbers from some previous years.”

Kloepper said she usually volunteers with food judging, but it was different for the 2020 fair. When the 4-Hers came with their projects to be judged. I sat at a table, checked 4-Hers in and directed them to the respective judge where they needed to go.

Kloepper and Flory agreed for 4-Hers the projects don’t end with the fair, there is paperwork and record books to keep up on and complete each year before the project is finished.

Ken Keister, of Leavenworth, judged the quilt exhibits here in Atchison County and other counties as well. “I was impressed,” he said.

There were some quality pieces and Keister attributed it to people staying in more throughout the quarantine and they seemed to work more with experimentation.

Long time supporter and contributor to the fair Jeff Martin said the event still means so much to many people in the area.

“It’s a long standing tradition and means a lot to many people in Atchison County,” Martin said. “The 4-H kids work really hard all year and to have their work showed off for the event. The numbers are down from the past but it’s still a great tradition with life long memories made here.”

The fair continues Saturday with some of the events being more livestock judging, Knuckle Draggers Car Show, BBQ Cook-Off contest and closing with a performance from Eric Dylan.

Time to choose the USD 409 Phoenix
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The choice of the Phoenix mascot design to represent USD 409 Atchison Public Schools is winding down.

District officials want to give all stakeholders the opportunity to indicate their preference.

Mascot Committee leaders expect to present the results of the Phoenix mascot design survey to USD 409 Board of Education members at the meeting Monday, Aug. 9 at the Board Office located at 626 Commercial Street.

Please choose the category with whom you identify with the most when submitting your choice design: Alumni, parent, staff, or student.

The Phoenix head logo will be utilized in conjunction with the chosen full body Phoenix mascot.

The options are Phoenix A or Phoenix B. Stakeholders can bring their information and option pic to the Board Office; send email to lacy.warren@usd409.net; by telephone call 913-367-4384, or log on to usd409.net.

The survey and the online survey window will close at noon on Monday, Aug. 9. To take the survey online click on bit.ly/2VpMjkl.

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Senior Village experiences Covid outbreak
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Atchison Senior Village reported 26 cases of Covid-19 as of Tuesday evening. A staggering 20 residents have tested positive, along with 6 staff members.

Senior Village had stated a staff member had tested positive on July 21.

Following that case, visitation had been restricted with families and friends only being allowed to call, FaceTime or have Zoom visits.

“We are following all local, state, and federal guidelines to mitigate the spread and keep our residents safe,” Senior Village said in a statement. “Please note, our residents are the number one priority. We are working around the clock with Emergency Management, the local Health Department, and KDHE in our COVID response.”

As of Tuesday, the County has reported 140 total cases of Covid-19 according to the Atchison County Health department.

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County to reduce Extension Council funding
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As Atchison County Commissioners continue seeking ways to hold the line on county spending they took action Tuesday to reduce the appropriation for the Atchison County Extension Council in 2022.

Commissioners unanimously voted to modify the initial request of $182,948 that Extension Board members submitted for the coming year to $88,000. The modification reflects a decrease of $94,948 from what the Extension Council Board members had hoped for.

The action follows numerous discussions about concerns raised at some budget workshops this season. The appropriations have held steady in the past few years at $140,000 in 2019 and 2020. For the current year $140,000 is the appropriation along with an additional $5,000 designated for capital outlay expenditures.

Extension Council Board members are elected to terms representing the commissioner districts. Extension Council Board members work closely with the county agents in the development for the K-State Research and Extension educational program development for Atchison County.

During one of the discussions in recent weeks, Commissioner Casey Quinn advised that there would only be funding available for one county agent position.

Commissioner Eric Noll said he has heard from his constituent recommendations to de-fund the Extension Council.

At the July 27 commission meeting 14 persons, some Extension board members, and others representing the public at-large were present to address commissioners about their concerns. Some favored fully funding the appropriation as requested, and others criticized the function of the Extension Board.

Concerning some other recent matters, commissioners:

Unanimously approved a bid from Traffic Management for the 911 Locator Signage Project –2021 in the amount that is less than $35,528 as presented by Director Wesley Lanter, Atchison County Emergency Management on July 27. The signage serves as the 911 address locators for all rural residences located in unincorporated parts of Atchison County according to resident applications. Lanter said the project entails 2,080 signs that residents applied for in 2019. The project had been delayed due to the COVID-19 virus interruption. According to terms of the contract the addresses along state highways will be installed no later than Friday, Dec. 31, and the remainder of the signage installations is to be completed April 2022.

Heard a report from Patrick Henderson that 70 properties have been identified eligible for the next tax sale, and recommended that the county obtain the services of O’Keefe Wilson Abstracting to start the steps involved that will lead to the next tax sale. Commissioners unanimously agreed to follow Henderson’s recommendation.