The news department of Seward County Broadcasting compiled a list of 25 of the biggest stories in Liberal in 2009 and had the radio staff rank them. The top ten were revealed during Live from Broadcast Square on Talkradio 1270 on Thursday. Here are the results of the top ten biggest stories in Liberal in 2009.
New Board of Education member Nick Hatcher defeated incumbent Cliff Abbott by the flip of a coin after the two tied for the third and final spot in the April Election. New board member Reid Petty was also elected receiving the most votes and becoming Liberal’s youngest school board member ever. Cheryl Louderback was also re-elected to the Board of Education. Joe Denoyer was re-elected for a second term to the city commission and a second term as Mayor. Bob Carlile who once sat on the commission once before and who is the General Manager of the Liberal Bee Jays was elected to the commission. Tim Long who owns Panhandle Oilfield joined the City Commission as Vice-Mayor as he received the most votes. Sharon Hobble, Ron Oliver, and Dustin Ormiston were all re-elected to the SCCC Board of Trustees as they ran unopposed.
9. Brock Kappelmann wins Kansas’ highest sportscasting award
Seward County Broadcasting Sports Director Brock Kappelmann and family were in Kansas City in May as he received the Hod Humiston award in conjunction with the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Sports Seminar. Kappelmann was selected by his peers for the prestigious honor which is given each year to a deserving sports broadcaster for their contributions to sports broadcasting for both radio and television. Past winners include Bob Davis, KU play-by-play, Fred White, Royals radio and television basketball commentator, and Mitch Houltus, current voice of the KC Chiefs to name a few.
8. Local community leaders pass away
Bill Colvin who founded High Plains Pizza Inc., Dr. Ian Yeats who had a very large base of patients, and Larry Howell who was the President of the Chamber of Commerce all passed away in 2009. There were many other fine citizens of Liberal and this area who also passed away. Seward County Broadcasting regrets not being able to mention them all.
7. Hospital Bond Project
At their regular meeting on Monday, December 7, the Seward County Commission approved a resolution scheduling a bond election for March 2 of next year. The election requests the authority to issue no more than $17 million in general obligation bonds to finance expansion and improvements to Southwest Medical Center in Liberal. CEO Norm Lambert of Southwest Medical Center has stressed that this will not be a tax increase for citizens.
6. Capital Outlay voted down
Local resident Steve Helm started a petition to halt the capital outlay of 4 mills for 2009-10. The petition received enough signatures to force a special election. The voters on October 13 denied USD 480 the right to the Capital Outlay by 85 votes. This caused the mill levy to be at 0 mills until May of 2010.
5. Trailmobile debt retired
In a special City Commission meeting on April 1, the commissioners voted 5-0 to pass Resolution 2048 which was the Redemption of the General Obligations Bonds of June 1, 2009. This paid off the City’s entire obligation to the Trailmobile debt. The amount of the payoff was $6,483,411.25.
4. Water Park completed
Adventure Bay Water Park opened its doors on July 4 for a special invitation only party with the doors opening for good on July 5. The park became so full at times over the summer that their were lines of people who had to wait for people to leave before they could enter due to the max capacity.
3. The blizzard
The day that the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team played Michigan St. for the right to advance on to the elite eight of March Madness, 22 inches of snow was dumped in Liberal. It was one of the largest snow falls to hit Southwest Kansas and the panhandle of Oklahoma in the history of March.
2. Redskin Field renovations
Just weeks after the school bond failed the Board of Education voted to renovate Redskin Field which included field turf, new bleachers, two tracks, and a new field at West Middle School.
1. $61 million school bond fails
The voters defeated the bond by a margin of 1689-1135. If the bond had passed there would have been renovations to most of the schools in the USD 480 school district.