By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly business meeting at the Courthouse Monday morning, June 17. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present.
Tony Miller and Denae Bechard were present to give their annual report for the North Central Kansas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program. CASA provides counseling and advocacy services to minors whose parents are involved in the legal system. The main office is in Salina, but Miller works out of the Concordia office. Bechard is employed by the Extension Service but is a member of the NCK CASA Board of Directors.
Miller reported that the NCK CASA performed 11 forensic interviews this past year with four of those being in Mitchell County. Miller said the numbers were down last year. When asked why he responded, "We just do not have the staff to serve all the kids that need served. We simply need more volunteers to cover all the bases."
Local volunteers include Barbara McGrath and Linda Deneke. McGrath, a volunteer since the 1980s, will be retiring soon. Cassie Patton, a new person to the program, is currently completing her training.
To become a CASA volunteer a 30-hour training program is specified. This is a Guided Learning activity which can be completed at home. They would then meet with CASA representatives and review their work.
For those interested in serving in as a much needed volunteer, Miller can be reached at 785-243-8200. Bechard's phone number is 785-738-3597. Interested people may access the CASA website at www.nckcasa.org. There is a big need for kind hearted people to help the children of North Central Kansas.
It was announced that the annual fireworks festival will take place at Glen Elder State Park on July 6. The performance entitled the Big Bang Fireworks Show will begin after sunset.
A Neighborhood Revitalization Grant was approved for Kevin Mesfeda for a 40'X68'X12' metal residential structure in the Zimmer Addition at a cost of $56,439 plus labor.
The air conditioning unit at the Ambulance Barn went out and needed repair, particularly in the hot weather we are experiencing. Tim Watts had a unit on hand that matched up and replaced the old with the new at a cost of $3,500.
Hope Brown and Missy McGinnis representing the Mitchell County Emergency Medical System, requested a 15-minute executive session. No decisions were made as a result of that closed session.
Julie Willoughby, representing the DVACK organization, spoke to the Commissioners about Elder Abuse. The Commissioners signed a proclamation declaring June as Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in Mitchell County.
Emily Benedict spoke to the Commissioners regarding the World Champions Grant. This grant would allow Mitchell County to hire one person to work 20 hours a week for a year. This person would work closely with Benedict to help solve the childcare crisis in Mitchell County. Benedict said a recent survey indicated that our County in 137 slots short of covering the daycare needs in Mitchell County. This equates to only 57% of the slots needed being provided.
Benedict was asking the Commissioners to provide the $5,000 in matching funds to apply for the grant. The Commissioners voted to use AARPA funds to pay for the $5,000.
Marty Hernandez, Superintendent of Public Works, reported that he will pull his crews off the roads for the next two weeks due to the increase in truck traffic due to wheat harvest. Hernandez said, after checking with surrounding counties, that Mitchell County is well below landfill rates charges by other counties.


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