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A note to editors: The following news feature may be of special interest to readers in Almena, Alton, Beattie, Burns, Cunningham, Glasco, Grinnell, Highland, Lakin, Lenora, Melvern, Mt. Hope, Olsburg, Potwin, Stockton and the Valley Community, which includes Gaylord, Cedar and Harlan. For photos to illustrate this news feature, contact Donise Osbourn at 785-532-5806 or dosbourn@oznet.ksu.edu.

Released: August 21, 2006

Community Development Award Winners Named

MANHATTAN, Kan. – In preparing for its annual PRIDE Day Workshop, scheduled Sept. 30 in Great Bend, Kansas PRIDE, Inc., has announced winners of its annual community development awards, said Connie Hoch, Kansas State University Research and Extension co-administrator for the PRIDE Program.

Nine PRIDE communities are being honored with 2006 PRIDE STAR awards, which are given in recognition of a completed community development project, and 14 communities have been designated as 2006 Community of Excellence Award recipients to recognize their high quality community improvement process, Hoch said.

What is the PRIDE Program?

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Want to update a city park? Add Internet service and then pair teens with older adults to improve computer literacy? Or, how about a swimming pool with enough start-up money to operate it for two years? Such projects have been undertaken and completed in recent years by Kansas PRIDE communities, said Jeanne Stinson, Kansas Department of Commerce.

Kansas PRIDE, Inc., facilitates local community development and improvement, Stinson said. The grassroots planning and organizational program typically helps a community identify its needs and potential resources such as project partners or grant sources before developing a plan of work to make the project a reality.

The PRIDE Program has been serving Kansas communities for more than 36 years, and currently is serving 64 Kansas communities. The program is co-administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas State University Research and Extension.

For more information, contact Jeanne Stinson (at the Dept. of Commerce) at 785-296-3485 or Connie Hoch (at K-State) at 785-532-5840.

The Community of Excellence award is given to recognize communities that are working in an effective community improvement process, such as identifying community needs and involving volunteers in identifying and implementing projects and activities to address those needs.

PRIDE communities also are encouraged to consider the environmental, social, human and economic aspects of the community as they set goals for improvement, Hoch said.

The awards, which include a commemorative plaque and cash award to underwrite future community development projects, will be presented at the awards luncheon in conjunction with the PRIDE Day workshops. The theme for the 2006 workshops is: “PRIDE, Setting the Pace for Community Improvement.” For reservations and more information on attending PRIDE Day and the awards luncheon, call 785-532-5840. The cost to attend the workshops and the luncheon is $30. The cost of the awards luncheon only is $20.

2006 PRIDE STAR Award recipients and their completed projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Alton: PRIDE volunteers focused on bringing the community together through social event planning including a Fourth of July Celebration, Sweetheart Supper and Ladies’ Night Out.

Beattie: PRIDE volunteers raised funds and worked many hours to complete their park improvement plans that included installing a public restroom at the popular facility.

Glasco: PRIDE volunteers secured funding through the Community Resource Act to create a Free University. In the 2005 program year, they offered 19 classes, each taught by a volunteer, to students ranging in age from three to 80-plus.

Grinnell: PRIDE volunteers completed a toddler swing project as part of a five-year plan to improve its city park.

Lakin: PRIDE volunteers secured a matching grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Local Government Outdoor Recreation Grant Program to purchase and install picnic and shelter areas and playground equipment for two parks.

Lenora: PRIDE volunteers created a computerized directory for their cemetery. The database of local veterans’ information includes obituaries, a map and photos of the burial sites that are used for marking graves with flags on Memorial and Veteran’s days. The information also can be accessed at the Lenora Public Library.

Olsburg: PRIDE volunteers raised more than $80,000 for a new swimming pool. Volunteers also provided much of the digging, painting and plumbing to make a longtime wish a reality. The new pool has become a recreational center. Swimming lessons and water aerobics are offered.

Potwin: PRIDE volunteers host a monthly movie night in the community center, complete with popcorn provided by local groups. Other events, such as a talent show and visit from Santa, build a sense of community. The community’s Plant a Row for the Hungry project has yielded nearly a ton of vegetables that have been donated to the Salvation Army.

Stockton: PRIDE volunteers converted barren lots into a landscaped park located near a senior care facility.

2006 PRIDE Community of Excellence Award recipients and a sampling of their ongoing community improvement activities include:

Alton: PRIDE volunteers hosted 29 PRIDE events such as holiday celebrations, a community cleanup, support for a summer reading program and fund-raisers to support local emergency medical technicians.

Almena: PRIDE volunteers publish a community newspaper and also have updated the cemetery, helped the animal shelter, worked at the Senior Center, hosted an ice cream social and fund-raising pancake feeds, and put up seasonal flags.

Beattie: PRIDE volunteers have updated restrooms, trails, play equipment and landscaping in a park, and supported the library, a local museum, FFA, and Beattie Alumni Association.

Burns: PRIDE volunteers completed a new downtown sidewalk, updated a corner park with benches and lighting, and helped to relocate the library and city offices to keep Main Street vibrant.

Cunningham: The PRIDE volunteer group is described as the “social glue” of the community. Projects include delivering welcome baskets to newcomers, providing recognition to the Yard of a Week, and organizing promotions and fundraisers that have made it possible to purchase a highway message center.

Greeley: PRIDE volunteers raised funds to buy (and maintain) a gazebo and memorial flag pole for their park. They also host an annual appreciation dinner, and support the American Red Cross with a chili and soup supper.

Grinnell: PRIDE volunteers maintain downtown flower and tree plantings, sponsor a school cleanup, soup supper, holiday lighting contest, and hosted a regional PRIDE workshop. They also provided $2,000 to their grocery store to add an awning and update its storefront.

Highland: PRIDE volunteers collaborated on more than 50 different community projects with community partners such as the historical society, schools, community college and other groups. Their PRIDE motto is “Looking ahead is a great way to keep from falling behind!”

Lakin: PRIDE volunteers maintain city trees and parks, with a goal of continuing to add improvements. Volunteers update the city’s Web site and have collaborated with the Santa Fe Trail Committee to launch the new Santa Fe Trails Day celebration.

Melvern: PRIDE volunteers developed – and continue to improve – a local fitness center. They have taken a proactive approach in sponsoring a methamphetamine lab awareness program. PRIDE volunteers play a key role in serving the community alumni banquet and promoting community events such as the 4-H Fair, Fall Festival and Sunflower Days and highlight local history by sponsoring Kansas Humanities’ lecturers.

Mt. Hope: PRIDE volunteers are matching community volunteers with opportunities to teach, coach and mentor others. PRIDE volunteers help organize local blood drives, Heartland Share distribution, computer classes and youth recreation opportunities.

Olsburg: PRIDE volunteers worked to complete the swimming pool project, and also organized a summer festival and citywide cleanup.

Potwin: PRIDE volunteers host an annual Volunteer’s Banquet and initiated grants to secure a new fire truck for the fire department. Their Plant a Row for the Hungry garden continues to yield fresh vegetables for the Salvation Army.

Valley Community, which includes Gaylord, Cedar and Harlan, PRIDE volunteers are collaborating on area celebrations and events. An example is a turkey dinner they hosted for more than 160 people from the area.

More information on the PRIDE Program is available from K-State Research and Extension (Connie Hoch at 785-532-5840) and the Kansas Department of Commerce (Jeanne Stinson at
785-296-3485).

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Nancy Peterson
nancyp@oznet.ksu.edu
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Connie Hoch is at 785-532-5840 or choch@oznet.ksu.edu;
Jeanne Stinson is at 785-296-3485 or jstinson@kansascommerce.com