District Judge Discusses County Conceal Carry Decision

The Honorable Kim Cudney, Chief Judge of the 12th Judicial District of Kansas, and Mitchell County Attorney, Mark J. Noah, met with the Mitchell County Commissioners at their Monday morning meeting.

Judge Cudney attended the meeting to explain the reason she feels the commissioners should rethink their decision made at last week's meeting not to apply for at least a six-month exemption on the" conceal to carry" bill Governor Brownback recently signed into law. This action would get Mitchell County through until January 1, 2014, before any other decision would have to be made, she said.

The Judge said she doesn't know what the Supreme Court will rule on this when they meet this coming Friday. Attorney Noah will have to get an exemption letter sent to the Attorney General's Office in Topeka by July 1, in order to comply with this ruling. Attorney Noah said, no other decisions or changes will be made on this issue until the first of the year when the Kansas Legislature goes back into session.

Chairman Mike Cooper asked if they could just exempt the courthouse and the Mitchell County Health Department Building out of this decision. Cooper's question was "how far should the county carry this? There is always a risk if a bad person really wants to cause problems so to what degree do we go? His feeling was if the Governor's office receives enough resistance to this ruling the he might resend this ruling. Attorney Noah reminded him it might be a year before we get an answer to this since the legislature won't be back in session until the first of the year. He would try to make anything work once they made a decision on the subject, he said.

County Clerk Treaster, reminded the commissioners most of the courthouse employees are women and she doesn't want to set in an office where they have no protection. The question of cross fire was discussed and the Judge said she feels like we would be going to Dodge City if we do this.

Commissioner Tom Claussen, who has a long military backgroundid not feel too many people would have the emotional stability or training to use a gun in the courthouse with bullets flying all over the room. Claussen is going to attend an eight-hour training on this but does not feel this would be enough training for most people to be proficient with a gun.

Judge Cudney said she was asking that the county to at least opt out until January 1, and then see where this goes then. David Chase voiced the opinion the Health Department and Courthouse should be protected. "It only takes one time and so is one persons life worth that risk? Attorney Noah said he has been working with Judge Wright since she is in court almost daily. It was suggested Judge Cudney get with the other Magistrate Judges and decide what this district as a whole is going to do.

The Commissioners voted to resend their earlier decision and revisit this on December 1, 2013, and made a decision before the end of the year so Attorney Noah has time to get the necessary paper work done and sent in. The commissioner's voted to exempt all county buildings by July 1, and revisit this issue at the first of the year but will have to be done before the budget is finalized for next year.

Busy Agenda For Commissioner's Monday Morning

Sheila Nelson- Stout, President and CEO of OCCK Inc., Lorraine Harris, Vice President/COO and Patrick Wallerius, Vice President/ CFO met with the Commissioners to discuss the OCCK Budget for the coming year. Nelson-Stout said they were not requesting an increase in funds for the coming year. They had 3500 service requests last year, which was 500 more people and no increase in funds in their over all budget. She explained their program and changes they are making to it in order to conserve money. Their request from this county is $48,535 for the coming year. This will be decided when the county budget is drawn up.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, told commissioners more Federal funds have become available. This county's share, if left in Federal funds would be $56,497 but if they are exchanged for State funds. This allows the county not to have to follow all the Federal red tape. Commissioner Jim Marshall made a motion to do this and the action was approved. The commissioner's signed paperwork to send in to the state.

Emerson, said he put an add in the paper asking for mowing bids from local people
to allow them to mow the about 30 acres of brome in the ditches on the county roads for hay. He wants to open the bids at next week's commission meeting. The company came and core drilled the bridge on L road, 1 mile west of 14, by Micah Tice's farm that he discussed last week. There is a two to three inch layer of limestone shale about 35 feet down in the ground. John Cashatt, engineer feels, they should be able to go on down to 40 feet to drive their bridge pilings and keep the bridge where it is now. They will start this after harvest. The crew has been making some repairs and doing more mowing.

Kyle Peterson, Curator of the Mitchell County Historical Society, brought in their budget for next year. He said, their budget has stayed the same for the last three years but asked for a raise this year due to higher utility bills, payroll and an increase in his salary. They have 117 members this year. Peterson talked about their plans for The Gabelman Farm was originally a stagecoach stop and there are several grants available for this they plan to apply for. Plans would include making the farm into a travel center and building a new structure to house the offices. They want to build a Mill since there is a strong history of flour milling in Mitchell County. The old barn may have to be moved since the highway right of way is very close to it.

Peterson said they owe $20,000 on the Gabelman Farm and hope to get it paid off in the next 10 years. They still owe $20, 000 on the Legion Building and hope to pay it off this year. Work needs to be done to make it more secure. They can't store anything there at the present time but hope to get it rocked and a secure door put on it. They asked for a budget of $55,100 in funds from the county this year; which is around $5,000 more than preceding years.

Becky Schaefer, Communications and Dispatch, told Commissioners a new 911 grant has been reopened and she would like to apply for funds to replace the voice recorder in her office that can report on 27 different lines. The lowest bid she has found is $50,016 and one-year of support time. If the grant only pays for half of this she has money in her budget for the other half. Commissioners approved this and signed a letter of support for this action. She will find out in November or December if she gets the grant.

Schaefer also explained the problems they are having with their Emergency Alarm System and asked to upgrade it at a cost of nineteen-hundred dollars. Commissioners approved this upgrade. A third request was to purchase a new computer for the five-year old model in her office. Commissioners approved request and told her to take bids and bring them back for approval. Schaefer also said their alarm system went off early in the morning. Maintenance found a big shard of glass sticking through the roof allowing water to come through the roof. This has been fixed.

EMS Director, Ed Debesis, met with commissioners to discuss problems with an ambulance that has since been fixed but they will continue to use it for 911 calls within the county in case there is more trouble. Their Rescue Truck wouldn't start this morning. Krier's were checking it out this morning and hopefully it is just the batteries. Commissioners approved Debesis and Janet Gengler's bonus hours worked so far. Debesis asked for a 10-minute executive meeting for non-elected personnel. No decisions were made but following the meeting Debesis asked to permission to hire Teresa White, of Salina as an EMT and grant her six months grace period to move to this county to comply with the resident requirement. Commissioners approved this hire. Debesis hopes to have her start next week after one week of training. This should relieve their problem with working extra hours.

There is a correction on the amounts of the equipment sold as announced at last weeks meeting. Debesis sold the Power-Cat Cot to Trego County for $7,000 and the monitors to Osborne County for $5,000.

County Attorney Noah asked for a 20-minute executive session with Clerk Treaster present to discuss non-elected personnel. No decisions were announced and the meeting adjourned.

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