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Commissioners Discuss Child Advocacy Center, Medical Director
By Hannah Alldritt
Due to space constraints in last week’s Fair issue of the newspaper, the following includes information from County Commissioner meetings on July 31 and August 7.
Negotiations with Horizons Mental Health Center about a new Child Advocacy Center in Anthony dominated the beginning of the July 31 meeting. Representatives from Horizons were interested in renting the former Road and Bridge building next to the courthouse for a satellite office to serve south-central Kansas. Child Advocacy Centers bring together local law enforcement officers, child protective services, counselors and other professionals to interview potential victims of child abuse and determine next steps. Twenty-two Harper County youth made the trip to Hutchinson last year for cases related to abuse, which according to officer Doug Murphy, meant a large travel burden on law enforcement. “I’ve been doing this for 40 plus years,” he said, “I’ve never worked somewhere with as many child sex crimes as Harper County.” Commissioners discussed a rental agreement for the building and decided at the August 7 meeting to charge $600/month in addition to utilities for a five-year lease term. The County will also perform maintenance on the building.
New Interim EMS Director, Sam Troyer, updated Commissioners on a new scheduling system for EMS. Troyer said one of her first priorities was to even out the numbers of people doing lots of on call versus those not doing very much in order to improve morale. At the August 7 meeting, the issue with finding a Medical Director to sign off on protocols for the County was brought up by County Clerk Melinda McCurley. McCurley attended a meeting of the Topeka State Board of EMS. According to McCurley, the Commissioners are being “blacklisted” because of information the State Board has received from an undisclosed source. “They said it’s all this Board’s fault, we ruined our EMS,” McCurley noted, “You need to clear your name, they don’t know the truth because they’ve only heard one side of it and it’s not good.” If the County cannot find a medical doctor to serve as Director, EMS could be shut down. Commissioner Pence said that she had forwarded a lead for a new Medical Director on to Troyer and stressed that it would be a good thing to have a hire made before going to Topeka to speak with the Medical Advisory Board. McCurley also noted that there was no consistency between counties on what Medical Directors were paid, for example Riley County pays theirs $4,000 per year while Ellis County pays $800 a month.
In Road and Bridge news, the County continues to wait for FEMA payment on the McCormack bridge that finished construction this May. Commissioners also approved spending no more than $2,000 for a golf cart at the landfill from money left over from fire damage insurance. There was further discussion on fixes for the Danville Road damage done by a dropped disk. John McClure, Road and Bridge director, asked for direction on what products and process to use. He also noted that twenty road signs had been sheared off by a company working on road projects in the County, Andale Ready-Mix, but that the company had admitted fault and would replace the signs.
In Health Dept. news, a retired Spanish teacher has offered to volunteer with translating for a few hours each week if the County will reimburse her for mileage. “They need to learn our language if they
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