A look at the top stories of the year
1. Krull takes over as new Butler president
Dr. Kimberly Krull was selected as Butler Community College’s fifth president after the retirement of Dr. Jackie Vietti. Her inauguration was held on Oct. 15. Previously, Krull served as vice president for academic affairs at Cloud County Community College in Concordia.
“Dr. Krull is an outstanding leader who will continue the good work of our retired president, Jackie Vietti,” Ron Engelbrecht, Trustee and the Chair of the Advisory Committee.
2. Augusta gets new city manager
Mayor Kristey Williams and the City Council appointed Gabriel Gonzalez to be Augusta’s next City Manager after a unanimous City Council vote on Sept. 19. Gonzalez comes to Augusta with 18 years of public and private executive management experience with 10 of those years serving as city manager. Previously he worked at Rohnert Park, Calif.
3. Kilbourne found guilty of shooting deputy
The jury brought back a guilty verdict of attempted second degree murder for Jan Tracy Kilbourne in the shooting of Butler County Sheriff Deputy Jacob Lawrence. The state had asked for a charge of attempted capital murder with a lesser charge of attempted second degree murder.
4. Butler REC celebrates 75 years
For 75 years Butler Rural Electric Cooperative has kept power to its members in Butler County.
Changes over the years have included the number of employees; a move to specialized linemen; who the cooperative serves, not just farmers anymore; and electronic reading of meters. To celebrate their 75th anniversary, REC put together a cookbook of recipes submitted by members and employees called “Cooking With The Coop.”
5. One of Augusta’s busiest intersections reopens
After less than four months of work, the intersection of Kelly and Ohio in Augusta reopened in August. The intersection was closed on April 29 for the work. The new intersection is a traditional four-legged intersection with designated left turn lanes. During construction, Ohio Street traffic was rerouted along a detour from 14th to Dearborn to Josephine and back to Ohio Street.
6. Augusta gets new Walmart
Augusta’s new Walmart held a grand opening on June 12. The store at 719 W. 7th is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will provide Augusta residents with shopping convenience for their grocery and general merchandise needs. The new store will also offer pharmacy services.
7. Summer rains refill Augusta Lake
After almost two years with the Augusta City Lake lakebed being dry due to a drought and a project on the dam and spillway, wet weather in July and early Augusta filled the lake back up. The city has completed the first year of a restocking plan for game fish and workers are still removing trees and brush that grew up during the dry spell.
8. Two long-time El Dorado businesses close
Two long-time El Dorado businesses closed their doors in 2013.
For 34 years Don Koke has been bringing music to El Dorado. The latest phase of that journey, the Iron Horse Concert Hall, closed after the 2013 season ended in May.
In addition, Job Lunch closed after more than 50 years of serving meals, particularly veal. They closed their doors in June.
9. Augusta opens new Garfield Elementary building
The final major project of the $48 million bond issue passed by Augusta voters in May of 2008 was complete in January.
The day before Augusta schools’ winter break, each Garfield Elementary student was bused to the new location for a grand tour of the facility. They were shown their new classrooms along with all the other areas of the spacious building.
10. New El Dorado Middle School complete
Middle school students in El Dorado will begin the new semester in a new school building. The construction was completed in 2013 and teachers moved into their classrooms during the winter break. A groundbreaking for the new school at the northeast corner of Highway 77 and 30th Street was held in April. Superintendent Sue Gives said the school district mirrors the progress of the community, with new facilities and improved reading and math scores. In conjunction with the school district, the El Dorado YMCA is putting in a turf field at the middle school.