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September 22, 2016
Harvey County IndependentSeptember 22, 2016 Harvey County Independent

BREAKING: Sedgwick's Mayor Resigns

Posted 9/23/2016

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK—In yet another blow to the Sedgwick government, Mayor Rodney Eggleston resigned at a special City Council meeting Thursday night.

“In light of recent events and questionable past practices of a select few council members as well as the general direction this council is heading, I cannot in good conscience hold the position of mayor any longer,” Eggleston said. “With that being said, I have submitted my resignation to the city clerk effectively immediately.”

Eggleston then walked off of the council platform and said, “you made this mess, you can clean it up,” which drew applause from the packed council chambers. Lynne Vigil, Council President, quickly took her place in the Mayor's seat. Vigil will as serve as mayor going forward.

Before Eggleston resigned, he announced the reinstatement of Tom Richardson as part time Fire Chief. Richardson resigned his post as Sedgwick's Emergency Services Director on Monday, Sept. 19. A new EMS Director has been hired and will begin Oct. 17. Richardson will man the fire department, while Mary Conrady manages the EMS side.

Former City Administrator Jaci Reimer, who was not at the meeting, will be allowed to continue her post with the Harvey County Economic Development Committee. Eggleston made a recommendation to allow Reimer to serve as a city representative on the EDC. “I have received several letters of recommendation on Reimer's behalf to remain at her post on the EDC,” Eggleston said.

Council went into Executive Session to discuss Reimer's severance package but came out with no action taken.

The City of Sedgwick is now without a City Administrator, has an acting Mayor, and only four council members.

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Sedgwick's City Administrator Resigns: Departure Unexpected, No Reason Given

Posted 9/22/2016

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK – City administrator Jaci Reimer has unexpectedly resigned from the city of Sedgwick after a hastily called closed meeting during Monday night’s regular council meeting.

Emergency Services Director Tom Richardson also resigned. No council member or the mayor would go on record as to why Reimer resigned. The Independent called Reimer and left a message and she did not return the call Tuesday.

It was announced Tuesday that Mayor Rodney Eggleston will be acting city administrator, and Mary Conrady has been named acting EMS Director.

To start Monday’s meeting, Council President Lynne Vigil added a 10-minute executive session, closed to the public, to the agenda before the agenda was passed Monday night. Vigil was adamant about her session going before an already-scheduled executive session, saying her issue would be quickly dealt with.

The closed meeting Vigil asked for included Mayor Eggelston, City Attorney Brad Jantz and the council members. Vigil came out and advised those waiting that the group needed another 10 minutes and a few minutes later Reimer was asked to come into the meeting.

According to Richardson, Reimer came back out after about an hour, with Vigil behind her. Reimer went to her office and packed it up while Vigil watched. A Harvey County Sheriff deputy appeared on scene and entered the building, waiting just outside of Reimer’s office.

The Harvey County Sheriff’s office confirmed it received a call stating the Sedgwick City Council was going into executive session and asked that a sheriff’s deputy be in the vicinity until the meeting was concluded. A Sedgwick police officer was also at the meeting.

Vigil went back into the council room and the next executive session was held and Reimer left. Richardson, who had tendered an open-ended resignation a couple of months ago, told council, the mayor, and Jantz, that his resignation was effective immediately. Richardson then went to the Fire/EMS building, packed up his personal belongings and returned his keys to city hall late Monday night.

Eggleston said on Tuesday morning, “The council accepted the resignation of City Administrator Jaci Reimer in a motion made by Vigil. Council also accepted the immediate resignation of Tom Richardson.”

Vigil made the motion to accept Reimer’s resignation, and the second came from Kirby Stucky. The vote was 3-2, with members Rick Jacob and Thom Noone opposed to the motion.

Vigil, Stucky, and Richard Ludowese voted in favor of the motion.

Reimer, who has worked for the city since January1990, has left with a severance package, according to Eggleston. She will receive 100 percent of her vacation pay, 75 percent of sick leave, with a six-month severance pay and health insurance. Council approved the severance.

Reimer’s salary was $64,389.38 a year.

Eggleston said Tuesday that he would fill in as administrator until an interim can be found.

“By statute this all falls into my lap,” Eggleston said. “We will be looking to appoint an interim administrator until a new one can be found.”

The Independent reached out to all Council members for comments. Jacob said he “didn’t want to make any statements that were contradictory to what the Mayor might say. The whole think was a shock.”

Noone was reached by phone Tuesday but had little to say.

Reimer also serves as the President of Harvey County Economic Development. Beth Shelton with the EDC said she was shocked when she heard the news about Reimer. “Jaci’s position is not dependent on her position as the City Administrator. I hope she will remain with the EDC. She has been a great advocate for the EDC. ” Shelton said.

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'Burrton's Block Party' Introduces Fun New Events

Posted 9/22/2016

By Jared Janzen

BURRTON—Fasten your seatbelts for a full day of fun this weekend. Burrton’s annual fall festival is back this Saturday with a theme this year of “Burrton’s Block Party.”

No button or wristband is required for the festival as almost everything is free at the festival with the exception of food and arts and crafts purchases.

This year’s festival will feature a number of new events. One of these is the Name Your Block event that gives this year’s festival its name. Residents of each block in Burrton are encouraged to get together before Saturday to prepare a skit, song, poem or other way of showcasing their block’s uniqueness. These will then be shared beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the stage on Burrton Avenue.

“We were just asking people in their blocks to come together and if they wanted to do a cookout or a dessert bar and just meet together and talk about naming their block,” said Carol Kirk of the Burrton Community Development Committee. She said the people on her own block have met to plan their piece. She also said that it’s not too late for neighbors to get together and prepare something for their block.

Another fun new event this year will be the ping pong ball drop, sponsored by The Barn. The way this works is that several hundred ping pong balls will be dumped out of a cherry picker’s basket crane. Certain balls will be specially marked, and whoever finds them will receive a prize.

Kids and adults alike will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at a variety of trucks during the Touch a Truck event, another new addition to this year’s festival. Construction, farming, industrial, commercial and public safety vehicles and equipment will all be present.

To read more, please see this week's print edition.

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Janke Finds Niche At Sand Creek Station

Posted 9/22/2016

BRUCE Janke of Halstead is working with area youngsters to improve their golf game.BRUCE Janke of Halstead is working with area youngsters to improve their golf game.By Pilar Martin

HALSTEAD—Bruce Janke has always loved golf.

“I won my first junior tournament when I was seven and have been hooked since. I eat, sleep, and breathe golf,” Janke said. Janke and his wife Cindy moved to Halstead last summer from California. He now teaches golf lessons at Sand Creek Station in Newton.

His sister Trisha Sulier and niece Tammy Church live in Halstead. His parents were in a local care facility. “We decided to move here to be closer to my parents and I’m loving it,” he said.

Janke has been a member of the PGA American Golf program for 28 years. “As a part of that golf program, I have worked with many professional golfers and am a veteran of 25,000 lessons. I have worked with everyone from tour players to tremendous junior golfers and everything in between.”

Not long ago Janke resigned his twenty-year position as General Manager of a 36-hole golf course in Chino, California. “I planned to take a year off. (Golf) is in my blood.” Janke started looking for a place to play and give lessons, when he stumbled upon Sand Creek Station in Newton.

Janke wants to work on player development program and teach golf lessons. “In Southern California we had over 400 junior golf tourneys in a year with 100-125 players in each event,” he said.

He thinks that people around this area can take golf to the next level. “If you have kids who want to excel at the game, taking a boot camp over the summer and then putting up your clubs is not going to work,” Janke said. “They need to work each week out at a driving range hitting balls.  If want they to play in high school, possibly college, it takes time and energy.”

Janke offers four 30-minute sessions for $50 for ages 7-12.  For ages 13-17, the rate goes up to $75. He also teaches group lessons for women on Tuesdays.

To read more, please see this week's print edition.

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