On Monday, December 28, Eureka City Council members reviewed a proposal submitted by Judge Mary Ann Shirley, to utilize diversion funds to purchase equipment for the municipal court and Sheriff’s Office. Secretary to the City Administrator, Karen Simon reported that there was approximately $12,000 in the fund created by former Legal Counsel Stuart Symmonds. In an effort to exhaust the account, the following purchases were proposed: radar for the Sheriff’s Office, approximately $4,000; 6 body cameras at approximately $1,000 each; a laser printer, toner and a laptop to be utilized for municipal court work including reports, diversions and probation pa-perwork in the amount of $1,600. Setup fees would also be paid with the diversion funds. Council members approved exhausting the account for the purchases.
An American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Tuesday, January 12, from 1 - 6 p.m., at the Matt Samuels Community Building, in Eureka.
Members of the USD 389 administration returned to the December 31 County Commission meeting in support of their request for modifications to quarantine procedures for local schools. Superintendent Scott Hoyt requested that in the event of a low risk exposure, wherein both the close contact and the identified positive were wearing masks appropriately, that the contact not be required to quarantine, both in the classroom and in transportation. Concerns maintaining bus drivers to transport children were also voiced. USD 389 Maintenance Director Russell Hewitt noted that he had to cancel in town bus routes once this school year, due to drivers being in quarantine. Hewitt told commissioners that he has had drivers quarantined three to five times this school year and none have had COVID symptoms. As concerns were expressed regarding the ability to insure that students wear masks appropriately during the entire bus ride, Public Health Nurse Vicki Lindsey-Ross offered clarification in regards to previous references to modifications made by Wilson County. She noted that though Wilson County had originally had transportation included within their modifications, they later found that this portion was not affective and have since returned to previous procedures. After stating that she had spoken with a representative from Wilson County earlier that morning, Lindsey-Ross stated that buses cannot be monitored to insure that masks are being worn appropriately. She next referenced SUVs utilized for activities, noting that modifications were not found to be effective in that mode of transportation either. After questions were posed regarding the State’s list for vaccine distribution, Emergency Management Director Levi Vinson stated that the though the state has a plan for distribution, it had yet to be released. Commissioner Paul Hodge stated that he couldn’t help thinking that that they were making too big of a deal over the issue, if masks are effective. Commissioner Roy Ballard then questioned if buses could be utilized rather than SUVs when transporting students to events. Hoyt told Ballard that if all bus drivers were available to drive this could be possible, however, limited numbers impacts their ability to do so. After noting that sports are important, Hodge asked if slowing down on activities until numbers have decreased was a possibility. Hoyt noted that the State of Kansas regulates sporting events and there are restrictions in place limiting spectators. As discussion continued, Hoyt stated that administration believes masks are working in the classroom and in transportation, because individuals who have been quarantined did not test positive. When asked her thoughts, Lindsey-Ross stated that she was in support of following the state guidelines, telling commissioners, “You guys do whatever you want to do.” As commissioners began discussing potential motions and clarifying the administrator’s wishes, Marshall Elementary School Principal Stacy Coulter stated, “If everybody believes that these (masks) are working, then why are we having to quarantine, too?” Legal Counsel Paul Dean clarified that this was an exception to quarantine not an exemption. Ballard noted that this brought up a question about sports team, asking if this would pertain to those exposed while playing sports. Lindsey-Ross noted that this strictly applies to classrooms and transportation, noting that athletes would still have to quarantine. Ballard then stated, “If you’re not wearing masks, you’re quarantined. End of story.” The following motion was made by Spradlin and seconded by Hodge: If there is a close contact in a classroom and the close contact(s) and the positive are both wearing an approved mask correctly for the entire duration of the close contact, the exposed individual(s) may be exempt from the 14-day quarantine.” Each situation will continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis, by the School District and the Health Department. Positive cases will be quarantined. Low risk exposures on the same bus where mask wearing and three-foot distance is applied may be exempt from the 14-day quarantine. As commissioners discussed the concept of limiting the modification to USD 389, Sheriff Heath Samuels questioned limiting the modification to just Eureka schools. Samuels stated that while he understood that Madison was not present making a request, schools could choose to be stricter than allowed or have the option to operate according to the quarantine modifications. Commissioners approved the modification unanimously, making the procedures open to schools county wide.
Last Wednesday, December 30, Jacqueline Montelongo turned herself in on a warrant for 2 counts of Conspiracy to Unlawfully Distribute a Controlled Substance, 18 counts of Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft, 18 counts of Conspiracy to Mistreat an Elder Person, 18 counts of Conspiracy to Commit Forgery, 18 counts of Conspiracy to Unlawfully Obtain a Prescription Only Drug, Unlawful use of a Communication Facility, and Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Substance.
For many, 2020 has been a crazy year, but for Little Miss Hadley it’s been a year filled with firsts! Next Friday, the fun will continue for Miss Hadley, and her family, as she is geared up to welcome in the New Year.