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December 03rd, 2020

rec center ribbon cuttingLiberal Mayor Connie Seigrist cuts the ribbon for the new community rec center during a ceremony Wednesday morning. Much praise and thanks were expressed to people and entities who helped the project come to fruition, a multi-decade effort. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


After multiple decades of work and failed votes, Liberal took another step forward Wednesday morning toward providing a community recreation center. 

The opening and ribbon-cutting took place at the former South Middle School building Wednesday morning and according to City of Liberal Director of Recreation Matt Quint, the project has been a long time coming. 

“The Recreation Center project as a whole got started long before I started with the Recreation Department, I want to say it was about 1972 when talks had started about putting this together,” Quint said. “I started with the department about six years ago and the mission from day one was to get a recreation center built and we all knew this was something we needed to push toward and work toward for the community because it was so new and a lot of people have wanted this. There are a lot of moving parts with this project. We're very thankful to USD 480 for having donated this building to the community, we can't say enough thanks to them because the building itself is still in very good shape and everyone would have been sad to see it torn down,” Quint said. “Everything came together for this and there were a lot of others in the community who were so helpful in getting this together. The first work that was done was in the gym area, we cleaned the floors and did some painting and other work in there and made it operational, and then we got the sprinkler system installed. It was about a month and a half ago when the batting cages came in – we'd met with the contractor who helped develop the new Sharp Family Champions Center, we brought him over and told him what we were thinking and told him about the need for it, and we asked him if it was possible. After some work and thought, he ultimately told us 'Yes' and everything came together and we're so happy with how the batting cages turned out.”

 dronefarmThe farmers of yesteryear might not be too familiar with their surroundings if they were to visit a modern farm. While the men and women who made their livings as farmers decades ago would no doubt still recognize certain farm features that have withstood the test of time, they might not understand the inner workings of the modern farm, particularly in regard to the role technology now plays within the agricultural sector.

Technology has changed agriculture in myriad ways. The methods farmers employ to produce food and improve the efficiency of their operations has changed as technology has evolved. One of the more noticeable changes that’s hard to miss on modern farms is the use of agricultural drones. 

Drones have been around for decades. Sometimes referred to as “unmanned aerial vehicles,” or “UAVs,” drones can be utilized in ways that can save farmers money and protect the planet.




  • Monitor crops: According to senseFly, the commercial drone subsidiary of Parrot Group, drones can help farmers effectively monitor their crops. With a drone flying overhead, farmers can spot and quickly identify issues affecting their crops before those issues escalate into something larger. 
  • Soil analysis: Another potential benefit of agricultural drones highlights their role in analyzing soil. Agricultural drones utilize complex mapping functions to gather data about the soil, including areas where it might be stressed. That enables farmers to develop accurate soil samples that can be used to guide decisions in regard to irrigation and fertilization.
  • Reduce waste: SenseFly notes that data gathered by drones can help farmers determine the vigor of their crops at various stages of growth. Such information can prevent overfertilization and overwatering, thereby reducing waste and runoff, benefitting the planet as a result.
  • Planning: Drones can be used to collect data on crop growth and health at various times throughout the growing season. That can help farmers develop accurate predictions regarding harvest quality and crop yield, making it easier for them to plan ahead.

Agricultural drones are one of the many examples that illustrate how technology has changed and will continue to change the ways modern farmers conduct business.

machiashotinlanejcMachia Mullens puts up a shot while being fouled Tuesday against Junction City. Mullens scored 23 points to lead the Lady Redskins to a 58-23 win, and Liberal advanced to the Sub-State championship Friday in The Big House. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

The Lady Redskins  (21-0) won their fourth consecutive first-round playoff game Tuesday with a 54-23 win over Junction City and advanced to the Sub-State championship game Friday when Liberal hosts Manhattan (11-10).

Machia Mullens and Katie Horyna looked like the Div. I signees they are. Mullens led the Lady Redskins with 23 points, and Horyna had 20.

Mullens scored nine of her 23 in the first quarter despite a triangle-and-one defense from Junction City trying to slow down Mullens and Horyna.

Fouls mounted early for Junction City when they challenged Mullens in the lane, and Mullens completed back-to-back baskets while being fouled and made both free throws.

Mullens made three of four free throws in the first quarter to go along with three baskets. Audrey Gilmore hit a three, and Horyna added a pair of baskets for an early 16-7 lead.

Junction City was within five late in the first quarter at 12-7, but the Lady Redskins went on a 17-0 run that included six points from Mullens, five points from Horyna, four points from Reagan Watt and two points from Aubrey Warden, and Liberal had a 29-7 lead.

Liberal led 31-10 at half, and the third quarter was dominated by Mullens and Horyna who combined for all of Liberal’s 13 points in the period, and the Lady Redskins jumped out to a 44-18 lead.

Liberal continued to pull away in the fourth quarter including a free throw from Reece Hay, a pair of baskets from Watt, and a shot from Mullens that gave the Lady Redskins a 30-point lead and enacted the running clock.

Horyna dominated the final four minutes, knocking down a three, a two and a pair of free throws in the 58-23 win.

Mullens led with 23 points, Horyna had 20, and Watt scored eight.

The season came to an end for Junction City at 3-18, but coach Tim Testa believed the Lady Blue Jays are working to establish a successful program.

    • Special to the Leader & Times

    destinyatr6driveSeward County Community College women's basketball defeated Colby Community College 63-46 on Saturday night to advance to the semifinals of the Region VI tournament. Leilani Augmon provided 16 points, five rebounds to lead the Lady Saints to victory. Seward will face off against Butler Community College on Monday scheduled tip-off is for 3 PM at the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City. 

    Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter and after the first two minutes, the Lady Saints led 9-6. Colby connected on 2 of 18 from the field and Seward shot just 4 of 11 from the field. 

    In the second quarter, the Lady Saints started to separate themselves from the Trojans with a full-court press. Seward had four steals in the quarter that led to transition baskets and they took a 28-19 lead at halftime. Alanis Hill came off the bench and led Seward with six points in the first half.


seward logoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Seward County Commission approved a new compensation for employees, along with an adjustment for sheriff’s officers wages.

Monday, the commission is expected to hear from Administrator April Warden about a request for an additional budget to allow for pay increases for 29 employees in that department.

Information in the agenda packet said after the increases were approved for detention officers and deputies, county officials were requested to review pay for tenured employees in those positions to mitigate pay compensation.

“After meeting with the sheriff to review tenured pay, it became evident that the estimate did not include the sheriff, undersheriff, captain, detective and two additional new hires in the jail,” the information said. “Therefore, the estimate was incorrect.”

The information said $75,000 was approved at the last meeting, but the final total with tenured employees to include all 29 employees is just less than $105,000, meaning an additional $30,000 would need to be approved.

angels for animals donationGreat Plaints Angels for Animals representative Gary Dunnam recieves a $500 donation from Renee Haralson, owner of American Abstract and Title Specialists, and Dunnam passes the donation to Steve Leete. Courtesy photosSpecial to the Leader & Times


Great Plains Angels for Animals works for the people of Liberal day and night every day of the week to save, protect and respect the rights of animals that inhabit the community whether they are a personal pet or homeless stray. 

Liberal does have an over population of animals in the streets, and GPAA works behind the scenes along with the animal shelter every day to find homes for these animals and make Liberal a better place to live. The most recent efforts have been reducing cat colonies. The only way to reduce cat colonies is through trap-spay/neuter-release (TNR) into the same colony. If cats are simply eliminated, others will fill the void and the colony will grow in size.  This is known as the vacuum effect.

 On Jan. 17, the organization suffered a devastating blow. 

Lady Redskin poster, click here!

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votedBond supporters ‘blown away’ by margin of approval


Leader & Times

School board member Nick Hatcher is a tall man. Even so, at the bond election watch party, he couldn’t stop jumping in elation as early voting results arrived. Hatcher wasn’t the only person excited about the 78 percent double “yes” Liberal voters delivered at the ballot box. Lisa Hatcher, organizer for the grassroots group Citizens for Responsible Growth, couldn’t stop looking at the numbers on her iPhone. 

The final tally for for the $127 million bond issue listed 2,023 “yes” votes, with 632 opposed. 

Final tally for the half-cent sales tax administered by the city of Liberal was 1,985 “yes” and 539 “no.” A 76 percent approval was far more than either husband or wife had dared to hope for — and Lisa was momentarily overcome as she addressed the group moments later. Quoting President John F. Kennedy, Lisa said that “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource,” then paused as tears threatened to fall, before she thanked the volunteers who helped get out the vote.  

The Hatchers were not the only supporters filled with shock and awe. 

“I feel so proud,” said Liberal resident and CRG member Tano Tovilla. “It’s amazing how people worked together to better this community. I’ve never seen a vote like this.”

Tovilla, a Mexican national who is just one year away from applying for his U.S. citizenship, spent a good part of Tuesday ferrying coworkers and friends to the election site at the Seward County Activity Center. 

“I made five trips,” he said. “I’m not allowed to vote because I’m still just a resident. This is the way I could be involved. I live here, I pay taxes here, I’m raising my children here and I wanted to help however I could.”

statebowlersCooper Clumskey and Caitlyn Carlile qualified for the Class 6A State Bowling Tournament. L&T photo/Earl WattSpecial to the Leader & Times

The Liberal boys finished sixth overall with a pinfall of 2910 at the regional bowling tournament Monday at Billy’s Ayr Lanes. 

Cooper Clumsky finished top for the Redskins with a 573 series and qualified for the Class 6A Individual State Tournament. In addition, four Redskins finished in the top half of individual scores for the Regional Tournament. 

The girls finished seventh with a total pinfall of 2288. 

Caitlyn Carlile finished top for the Lady Redskins with a 488 series to qualify for the Class 6A Individual State Tournament. 

The state tournament will take place March 5 at North Rock Lanes in Wichita. 

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