The City Commission of Arkansas City recognized several people during its Dec. 5 commission meeting.

Commission recognizes Robert Courtland

Photo by Andrew Lawson/City of Arkansas City

Robert Courtland, left, receives a Good Neighbor Recognition Award from Mayor Dan Jurkovich during a City Commission meeting Dec. 5.

The first was Robert Courtland, a Winfield resident who owns property in Arkansas City. He was given a Good Neighbor Recognition Award by the city.

Courtland has been involved heavily in citizen cleanup efforts in the summer and fall around the city, including helping a Prayer in Action group from the Wichita diocese of the Catholic Church.

“We wanted to recognize Robert for all his help with the community cleanup,” said Public Information Officer and Special Projects Coordinator Andrew Lawson.

“(He) donated the use of his trailer, which was immensely helpful for the volunteers to take loads up to the dump. He also got out there and helped trim back trees … during (Fall) Cleanup Day (on Oct. 14).”

Another Good Neighbor Award has been given to Marsha Hephner for her efforts picking up trash during Fall Cleanup Day. She was unable to attend the meeting Dec. 5.

Both Courtland and Hephner were nominated for the awards by city staff. The Beautification and Tree Advisory Board voted unanimously in October to given them the awards.

Police officer promotions

In addition to acknowledging citizens for their volunteerism efforts, the commission also recognized two Arkansas City Police Department employees.

Commission recognizes Arkansas City Police Department master police officers

Photo by Andrew Lawson/City of Arkansas City

Police Chief Dan Ward, left, pins a master police officer rank insignia on the collar of newly promoted Officer Ted Shinneman after doing the same for School Resource Officer Chase Hobart, right, during a City Commission meeting Dec. 5.

Officers Chase Hobart and Ted Shinneman were acknowledged as ACPD’s newest master police officers.

“Both officers have demonstrated repeatedly their dedication to the department and to the citizens of Arkansas City,” said Police Chief Dan Ward.

“It isn’t just their hard work during their time with us,” he said.

During the last two months, the officers had to pass rigorous written examinations and an oral interview process with a board, followed by an interview with Ward himself.

Ward pinned the officers with their new rank insignia during the meeting and shook both officers’ hands.

Master police officers, in addition to being recognized for their level of skill and knowledge, also serve as field training officers for newly hired police officers.

“As such, they serve a critical role in the success of the police department, ensuring new officers are trained to provide the best possible service to the community,” Ward said.

Fluoridation Reaffirmation Award

The City of Arkansas City was honored Dec. 5 by a pair of state officials in recognition of its April 2016 decision to maintain water fluoridation.

Commission receives 2016 Community Fluoridation Reaffirmation Award

Photo by Andrew Lawson/City of Arkansas City

FROM LEFT: Tanya Dorf Brunner, executive director of Oral Health Kansas; Dr. Cathleen Taylor-Osbourne, state dental director with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; and Mayor Dan Jurkovich, with the 2016 Community Fluoridation Reaffirmation Award.

The city was given a 2016 Community Fluoridation Reaffirmation Award “for contributions made on behalf of community water fluoridation.” It was one of just 20 communities so honored nationally in 2017.

Presenting a certificate of appreciation for the award were Dr. Cathleen Taylor-Osbourne, state dental director with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and Tanya Dorf Brunner, executive director of Oral Health Kansas, Inc. Local dentist Dr. Nick Rogers also attended the ceremony.

Other entities involved with the award are the American Dental Association (ADA), Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Originally, the award was to be presented Nov. 2 at the 2017 Water Fluoridation Quality Awards Reception in Olathe, but no city representative was able to attend that event, so Brunner and Taylor-Osbourne asked if they could come to Tuesday’s commission meeting to present the award in person.

“The advantage of fluoride in drinking water is its ability to deliver a low level of fluoride frequently to large numbers of individuals at a low cost, with a resultant substantial cost savings due to a decrease in tooth decay,” Taylor-Osbourne said. “Communities that adjust the fluoride level in their drinking water provide lower concentration and consistent fluoride exposures compared to other fluoride choices.”

The City Commission voted 4-0 on April 5, 2016, to add a sodium fluoride saturator system to the new Water Treatment Facility, for a cost not to exceed $58,380, after testimony from Rogers and others.

Despite public pressure from many citizens last year to abandon public water fluoridation, then-Mayor Chad Giles cited the expertise of the local dentists who spoke as a heavy influence on the commission’s final vote to continue the effort.

In particular, Rogers had presented KDHE statistics showing that Winfield’s rate of childhood dental caries (tooth decay) is higher than Arkansas City’s. He attributed this difference to the latter city’s decision to fluoridate its water, which Winfield does not do.

Those numbers indicate that from 2012 through 2015, Cowley County’s overall untreated decay rate declined from just under 12 percent to slightly more than 9 percent. But in that same time frame, the rate in the Arkansas City Public School District fell from slightly more than 10 percent to a little more than 7 percent.

This is consistently lower than the rate in the Winfield school district, which fell to slightly more than 12 percent from a high of nearly 18 percent in 2012-13.

Wichita, which also does not fluoridate its water, actually saw the untreated decay rate rise from nearly 18 percent to almost 21 percent in 2014-15 — nearly three times higher than in Ark City.

“I would like to thank the city for passing the fluoridation issue and putting fluoride in the water,” Rogers said.

“This is one thing that really does make a difference.”

“Community water fluoridation has been demonstrated to be safe, cost-effective, and beneficial through every stage of life and for all people, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status,” Taylor-Osbourne said. “Water fluoridation reduces oral health disparities by creating a healthy environment. …

“Community water fluoridation has an individual lifetime cost less than the cost of a single dental filling. Other forms of fluoride, such as fluoride toothpaste and clinical interventions, complement community water fluoridation. Since the epidemiological, environmental and laboratory studies confirm the association (among) naturally occurring, optimal levels of fluoride in water supplies, improved dental health and absence of any negative health impacts, community water fluoridation has been the cornerstone of caries prevention in the United States.

“Indeed … the CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of (the) 10 most important public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Ark City is approaching its 50th anniversary of community water fluoridation, Taylor-Osbourne said.

In other business, the commission:

  • unanimously approved the following consent agenda items:
    • approving the Nov. 21 regular meeting minutes as written.
    • ratifying Mayor Dan Jurkovich’s reappointment of Mary Benton as the Ark City representative to the City-Cowley County Board of Health for a three-year term.
    • approving Resolution No. 2017-12-3140, authorizing the city to execute a Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) waiver for the 2018 fiscal year.
  • heard a first reading of and voted unanimously to approve Ordinance No. 2017-12-4445, adopting the budgeted employee pay plan for 2018 and repealing Ordinance No. 2016-12-4422.
  • voted unanimously to approve Resolution No. 2017-12-3141, approving a notice of budget hearing for publication and scheduling a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 in the commission room at City Hall, 118 W. Central Ave., to amend the 2017 budget for the City of Arkansas City.
  • heard updates from City Manager Nick Hernandez regarding the governing body handbook, financial tools available to developers, the employee Christmas party and the Water Treatment Facility project, including a new waste line from the plant to the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
  • discussed options for reconstruction of the intersection of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue, including brick or concrete replacement. Public Works Director Eric Broce said he would obtain costs for the additional options discussed and relay them to the commissioners. No action was taken at the meeting.

City of Arkansas City Public Information Officer and Special Projects Coordinator Andrew Lawson contributed to this story.