Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

County OKs $45,000 for historical society

July 25, 2007

The Leavenworth County Historical Society won't have to sweat out the paperwork to receive a county funding grant in 2008, after all.

After reworking the method in which county museums would be funded in 2008, the Leavenworth County Commission decided Thursday to earmark $45,000 of a $100,000 line item specifically for the society, which is housed in the Carroll Museum in Leavenworth

The remaining $55,000 still will be parceled out to other cultural and historical centers in the county by way of competitive grants.

Members of the historical society's board of directors that were present Thursday at the county courthouse applauded the board's decision. Many had sent letters asking the commission to fund the Carroll Museum at the same rate as in 2007, when it received $46,000 in county funding.

Shirley Stieger, president of the Leavenworth Historical Society, emphasized "the need for a professional staff person" at the museum, which, she said, is the main repository of archival records in the county and has been county-funded for 46 years.

Interim curator Joanie Kepka explained that the Carroll Museum showcases a variety of exhibits each year, as well as providing educational and research opportunities for the community.

With local histories, genealogies, the American Registry of Indian Affairs, forgotten land records, indexes of deaths, old newspapers and city directories, the historical society receives requests for information every day, Kepka said.

"The main point I was to impress on the county commissioners is that the Leavenworth Historical Society's records are not stagnant, are not in an attic collecting dust," she said. "They are relevant to the people of Leavenworth County."

Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson agreed that "one of the greatest things Leavenworth County has to offer is its history," but added, "We (the commission) want to establish a program that's going to perpetuate itself."

In a May 14 commission meeting, Tellefson questioned whether it was the county's responsibility to "prop up" county museums that cannot finance themselves.

Approximately $43,000 of the historical society's $122,000 budget goes to salaries and wages.

Stieger was quick to point out that volunteers provide hours of service for the historical society and make events like the vintage homes tour, the herb market and the museum's high tea possible.

Stieger also noted that all profits from the museum's Victorian Shoppe go directly into the county's educational fund.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber, who came up with the idea to set a cap on the amount that Leavenworth County would contribute to area museums, said Thursday that his main concern now was for the "other organizations that are working to celebrate Leavenworth history."

"Somehow if we could all pull together and all work together, we could make big steps in preserving the rich treasures ... in Leavenworth County," he said.

In the 2007 county budget, $96,000 total was allocated to county museums: $46,000 to the Leavenworth Historical Society; $25,000 to the First City Museum in Leavenworth; $10,000 to the Richard Allen Cultural Center in Leavenworth; and $5,000 apiece to historical museums in Lansing, Tonganoxie and Basehor.

Stieger said the historical society has been working toward accreditation for next year, which would allow the group to tap into a larger funding source, and is pursuing additional grant funding.

Also on Thursday, the board:

  • Approved, 3-0, a $25,000 funding request by the St. Vincent Clinic for 2008.

Executive Director Amy Falk said St. Vincent, at 818 N 7th St. in Leavenworth, is the only clinic in Leavenworth County to provide medical care to the uninsured.

She estimated the clinic had 4,200 patient visits from individuals in need last year.

Along with Falk's position, St. Vincent has a clinic manager, nurse practitioner, medical assistant and secretary on the payroll. Most of its support comes from retired and volunteer physicians.

"We truly do rely on the goodness of other people," Falk said.

While patients are asked to pay $15 per visit, Falk said patient fees account for only 5 percent of the clinic's budget.

"I don't see that there's anything more important," Tellefson said in regard to providing funds for St. Vincent. "I'm inclined to support (this program) to the full extent."

  • Reviewed cost projections for a new Emergency Medical Services building that were submitted by Don Pruitt, a design architect with Horst, Terrill & Karst.

Pruitt estimated the cost of the 8,480-square-foot facility, which will be behind the Metropolitan Steak House at 16th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Leavenworth, at $981,778.

The figure includes two bedrooms for EMS paramedics, four ambulance bays, site development costs and design fees and has been included in the proposed 2008 budget for the county Special Buildings Department.

  • For more news from the Leavenworth County Commission, see page 11A.

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