EnglishSpanish

WHAT A YES VOTE IN NOVEMBER COULD DO FOR THE LIBRARY

thumbthumb


One of Amy Brucker’s favorite library quotes is “Bad libraries build collections. Good libraries build services. Great libraries build communities.”


In November, registered county voters will see a special election question on the ballot for a proposed Library Expansion Project. So what is the Hamilton County Library Bond Issue and what is involved? 


To start, the cost of the expansion project is $2.8 million. The ballot question will ask voters to vote yes or no to approve a county-wide .5% general purpose (retailers) sales tax increase to fund the $2.8 million project. The funding for the project will not be tied to property taxes. The increased sales tax will end when the project costs have been paid for.
Brucker has diligently investigated grants to help with costs associated with the project. Until a successful election occurs, the grants cannot be submitted. But many of the grants out there have to do with utility and road infrastructure or new builds, not additions or renovations. 

So, what does the bond pay for? Sales tax collected will finance the costs to construct, furnish, and equip additions, improvements and renovations to the Hamilton County Library.

Why Now?  Discussion for expanding the library occurred over 10 years ago when Joyce Armstrong was the Library Director. Even then, library services and programs were outgrowing the current space. When I became the Director, a 5-year plan for building improvements were discussed with the Library Board of Trustees. When shared with the County Commissioners a possible expansion was discussed…then COVID hit…then, about 18 months ago the Library Board and I decided it was time to look at new floor coverings. I asked the Commissioners if they objected to the floor coverings but if the expansion was on the horizon it didn’t make sense to put them in now and then add and remodel the current library. The expansion became a priority. 

What Additions Are Being Made?  The new layout and additional square footage will include a program room with an open kitchen, two private meeting/study rooms, a conference room, on-site storage, and an employee work room. The children’s library area will be relocated, as well as the three offices. Proposed project plans almost double the square footage from 3,900 to 7,700 square footage.

Is the Project Necessary? Simply put,  the library needs more room to continue to meet the changing needs of the community we serve. We love that our location and relationship within the community has created this problem; it’s a good one to have. Early childhood programming is growing, kids coming in after school is growing, requests for meeting rooms and private study and work spaces are growing, our relationship with the school continues to grow, and our desire to provide timely and relevant programming has grown. Room is needed to embrace all of this. Several times over the summer I had to turn services like Russel Child Development Center away because we didn’t have open meeting space. Already this fall, a high school class couldn’t access books due to a meeting in the Teen Room. Last spring, we had children meeting with a case manager in an open corner in the adult room, while the VA Rep met with our Veterans in the adult sitting area, and elementary class visits occurring in the children and teen rooms. The energy of everything happening is amazing, but scheduling provides limitations. The additional space will allow for our community to access library services, programs, and resources in a timely and efficient manner.
    We are very thankful to both the City of Syracuse and City of Coolidge for their willingness to work with us on the bond issue. Both Councils have agreed to enter into legal agreements to forgo our portion of the increased (.5%) general sales tax, for the county library expansion and remodel, upon a successful election in November. Another huge factor in the successful planning of the proposed project is USD 494’s Board of Education agreeing to give us property north of the library if the election is successful. This agreement really opened the scope of what the project could do.

Some key statistics:
• Our library averages over 4,300 visitors each month.
• Our library recorded 284,960 WiFi sessions last year.
• Our library hosted 644 programs with 13,545 in attendance in 2021.
• Our library is used as a meeting place for Compass Behavioral Health, Russell Child Development Center, Veteran Affairs, Girl Scouts, individuals meeting with estate planners, and more.
• Our library has over 50 class visits each month, with monthly student checkouts ranging from 1,050 to over 1,200 books.
• Our library sponsors two high school leadership groups, Library Leadership Group has 26 members this year, and Seatbelts are For Everyone (SAFE) have 29 members.
• The library was selected the Best Small Public Library in Kansas in 2019 by the Kansas Library Association and awarded a 4-Star Library ranking by the Library Journal in 2021 based on the fiscal year statistics for 2019.
  A committee  has been formed to promote a “yes vote” for the library bond issue. Presentations within the community are currently being scheduled. If someone would like to request a bond issue presentation, please contact Amy at the library. There are plans to have community wide presentations with the architect and construction manager. All of these events will be announced in the newspaper and on the (soon to be created) bond issue Facebook page
Brucker added, ”This building project is all about community. Over the years the library has done a great job to answer the call to what the community has needed us to be. So good, that we are running out of space. Libraries are adapting to the changing world around us and it’s important that we can continue to meet the needs of our community through the programs, resources and services we offer. This expansion and remodel can provide a lot of opportunities for all of us, now and in planning for the future.”


  

 

 

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

NEWS

thumb

WELCH BRINGS MILES OF SMILES

SHS Senior Amanda Welch is volunteering weekly in Garden City with Miles of Smiles. It is a program that offers children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and social disabilities the benefit of therapeutic horseback riding. Welch has been riding horses since she could... [More]

thumb

First National Bank of Syracuse is now Dream First Bank

First National Bank of Syracuse is now Dream First Bank.  No, the First National Bank of Syracuse did not sell or merge. Instead they have been working towards this new name, “Dream First Bank.” According to CEO Chris Floyd, “It’s a lot like naming... [More]

thumb

GOV. KELLY LEADS AREA RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROUNDTABLE AT WHOLLY COW MARKET IN JOHNSON

On Wednesday morning, Governor Laura Kelly came to Wholly Cow Market on Main Street in Johnson. Emery Josserand’s apothecary, Emery Drug, was built in 1920 with lumber from a bunker in World War I. Rural Economic Development discussion ensued with parties from Hamilton,... [More]

thumb

Todd Thanks His Customers - The End Of An Era

Jamie Todd along with his wife Skyla delivered newspapers for the last time on Saturday, August 27, 2022.  Jamie has been delivering newspapers to Syracuse for more than thirty years. He started delivering for the Hutchinson News in 1991 trying to earn some extra cash. During... [More]

thumb

SCOULAR UPGRADES AND A HISTORY OF THE COOLIDGE ELEVATORS

Step into Scoular’s facility in Coolidge, and you will see a large group of people who work seamlessly with each other. Their leader is Derek Spears, Regional Manager and he is excited about the major upgrades at this facility which will boost unloading speeds and expand... [More]

thumb

The Lunch Room

Opaa is a common Greek expression for hurrah! But did you know Opaa! is a Missouri based company who manages kitchens for school districts? Kenneth Short founded Opaa! Food Management Inc. in 1978 and it is still family owned today, serving over 800 schools in over 250 school... [More]

thumb

John Smith Pleads Guilty

On Thursday, August 25th, 2022,  John Smith pled guilty to - Aggravated indecent liberties with a child; Indecent liberties with a child; and Sexual exploitations of a child. Sentencing is to take place on November 7th at 9 am at the Hamilton County District Court. September... [More]

thumb

College 101 Success

On Wednesday, August 17th, the Syracuse High School lecture hall was packed with standing room only for College 101.  School counselor Elizabeth Thomeczek  said, “A couple years ago I was a math teacher with little career counseling experience. Lora Horton pushed... [More]

More News


OPINIONS

Miracles and Mysteries

It’s been a long while since I was out in the field being a part of the team planting wheat, emptying and loading seed, taking pickups here or there. Busy with wonderful things like being a mom, running a business, community involvement.  But driving out looking at... [More]

What is success?

What is success? If you are at your lowest with no job and no hope and someone offers you work, and you accept it and start working hard with gratitude that is success. If your goal is  - I will be CEO in a week; that is beyond unrealistic. It’s insanity. But, having... [More]

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Lately I have had a whole lot of ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda.” A few instances this past week, personally and professionally  left me questioning what I could have done better and what I should have done. Then I start reliving past mistakes from ten, twenty, thirty... [More]

Serving Others

This morning I noticed the newspaper’s byline has been “The Voice of Hamilton County since 1885.” I don’t like it. Today I switched it to “Serving Hamilton county since 1885.” I think it suits the newspaper’s ideal better.   ... [More]

Where's My Self Care?

Self care.  Sometimes it is impossible, sometimes it’s hanging on by a thread, completing the tasks that are immediate and putting out fires.  Sometimes you don’t even see an end in sight. You might start slouching a bit more, grabbing clothes, and just... [More]

Making The Most Out Of Life

I have been in Manhattan, Kansas for a few days at a farming conference. It was a great learning opportunity to hear about risk and profit, land values, employees and farm policy in Washington, D.C.    I didn’t get to attend all the breakout sessions but loved... [More]

thumb

A SUNSET

How’s your life going? Some of you are still in summer. We started back to school here this week. The summer sped by faster than I ever remember a summer going by.    Life is moving faster and faster and all the things I need to do are falling behind.  I... [More]

One Of The Greatest Lies Ever Told

One of my first columns a couple years ago discussed “have to” vs “get to.”   Well last weekend I missed a family camping trip to put together the fair edition. I barely left my chair for days. And then after a short break I had to put another paper... [More]

More Opinions

SPORTS

thumb

LADY BULLDOGS BORDER WARS CHAMPIONS!!

The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]

thumb

JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]

thumb

Senior Night Volleyball

Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse.  Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]

thumb

HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]

thumb

SHS SPORTS WRAP UP

Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]

thumb

Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]

thumb

SUBSTATE HEARTACHE

Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]

thumb

HEADING TO SUBSTATE

The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]

More Sports

OBITUARIES

thumb

Vernon L. Stokes

Vernon L. Stokes, age 82, of rural Stanton County, Kansas, passed from this life to the Lord’s side on September 17, 2022, at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, Kansas.   He was born September 5, 1940, in Alamosa, Colorado, the son of Harold R. and Leona May (Curliss)... [More]

thumb

Francisco “Frank” Griego

A Memorial Mass for Frank Griego will be held at 10:00 a.m. and recitation of the Rosary at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, October 1, 2022, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, CO.  Inurnment will follow at the Holly Cemetery.  Francisco “Frank” Griego... [More]

thumb

Dean Bearce

Dean Bearce, age 77, of Manter, Kansas, passed away August 30, 2022, at Stanton County Hospital in Johnson.   He was born on December 13, 1944, in Syracuse, Kansas, the son of W.O. “Bill” and June (Cott) Bearce.   Dean married Linda Clark on August 19,... [More]

Betty Lou (Baskin) Vanderpool

Betty Lou (Baskin) Vanderpool, age 86, passed away at the Poudre Valley Hospital on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. She was born on October 16, 1935 in Brookfield, Missouri, the daughter of Leonard Paul Baskin and Vivian Lucille (Morgan) Baskin. Shortly after beginning her life in... [More]

thumb

Mary Reinert

Funeral Services for Holly, CO resident Mary Reinert will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 19, 2022, at First Baptist Church in Holly with Mr. Bon May officiating.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation for Mary will be held on Thursday, August... [More]

thumb

Verlie Viola (Thompson) Bennett

Verlie Viola (Thompson) Bennett was born in Stafford County, Kansas on February 26, 1922 to Fred and Leila (Reece) Thompson. She lived in Stafford County for nineteen years, graduating from Trousdale High in 1940. Verlie married Ronald Toot in 1940. To this union, six children... [More]

thumb

Terry Ogden Herndon

Terry Ogden Herndon, 88, of Carlisle, died peacefully at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln on Saturday, August 6, 2022, after a full and wonderful life.  He was the beloved husband for 66 years of Eva (Warmbrunn) Herndon. Born in Syracuse, Kansas on March 15, 1934,... [More]

thumb

Irvin Henry (Junior) Lewis, Jr.

Irvin Henry Lewis, Jr. always known as “Junior” Junior was born in a little country house in Stanton County Kansas on January 26, 1932.  He was the youngest of 3 children born to Irvin H. Lewis and Effie (Mae) Hardin.  The eldest a sister Ethel Lorraine... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries