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Karl Eikenberg & Family

Get to Know the Candidates: Kiowa County Special District Election Tuesday, May 3rd


By Raina Lucero

April 27, 2022

Kiowa County Special Districts will hold their election on Tuesday May 3rd. The Kiowa County Fire Protection District (KCFPD) and the Kiowa County Hospital District (KCHD) have sent out mail-in ballots to all registered eligible electors and property owners in Kiowa County.

The KCFPD will say goodbye to long-time members Teresa Witte and Zach Kopasz as they have chosen to not rerun for their positions. Both of their knowledge into fire safety and emergency management has been highly valuable to the district as the KCFPD has grown into a strong district.

Eunice Weber, was appointed to the KCFPD board after the departure of founding member Terry Riley and is running for a 1-year term. Eunice, who has been the Kiowa County Ambulance Director for 20 years says, “On some of our Ambulance calls I work closely with the Fire Department, and I understand some of the issues and situations they face on each call. Equipment, engines and staff are some of the obstacles the Fire Department face each day. If I’m able to continue to serve on the board, I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to help the district overcome some of these obstacles.”

Andrew (AJ) McCracken, who is on the ballot for a 3-year term has been a volunteer firefighter with the Eads Fire Department since 2004. Over the years he has worked his way through the ranks serving as assistant chief and in 2017 became District Chief until 2021. As District Chief, AJ was essential in getting an ISO rating for Eads, Haswell, and Sheridan Lake.

“Getting these towns on the ISO rating provides insurance companies data about fire departments, their water supply, and how prepared the community or area is for fires. Potentially saving homeowners money on insurance based on the rating. This was my biggest achievement along with working with the board to provide our firefighters with new safety equipment. With all thanks to the county passing the district mill levy. I wish to serve our district on the board to help in making further achievements in the district.”

Casey Sheridan, is also running for a 3-year term with the KCFPD. Casey joined the then Eads Volunteer/Kiowa County Volunteer Fire Department his senior year of High School in 1996. This made Casey the first 18-year-old member to join the department. He soon started rallying other young members to join and paving the way for younger recruits to volunteer, boosting the number of members of the department. Through the years Casey served in many capacities from fireman to Chief. When Casey retired from the department, he had served more than 20 years.

“My years of experience on the fire department will help with the business side of fire services. I understand and have worked with the ISO ratings and how that can help homeowners save money with home insurance. I have the knowledge of the fire equipment and trucks to make those important decisions. I will be an active board member with the Fire District and with the taxpayer’s interest in mind.”

Lastly, Dee LaMonte Billheimer (Monte) is the third person to seek election for a 3-year term to sit at the table as a KCFPD Board of Directors member. Monte, has lived and farmed in the Haswell area since 1994 and previously served on the Haswell Volunteer Fire Department though he is no longer on the volunteer roster, he continues to support the Haswell station and help out in any way that he can.

“I believe I could bring common sense and fairness to a director position. I would be supportive of the Fire Stations and the citizens of Kiowa County.”

Anyone who received a ballot for the KCFPD should mark not more than 2 candidates for a 3-year term and mark one for a 1-year term. Ballots can be turned into the ballot box located outside the Kiowa County Court House or mailed back to the KCFPD. All ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday May 3, 2022 to be counted. If anyone needs a replacement ballot or has any questions about their ballot, they may call the KCFPD Designated Election Official Raina Lucero at 719-688-1481 Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.

The Kiowa County Hospital District (KCHD) which has seen much turmoil over the better part of the year will seek to elect 4 members of their 5-member board. Current Chairman Craig Kerfoot, director Claire Prince, as well as Director Kevin Davis all opted to not run for reelection. Each of these members has been steadfast in working with the district to make decisions that would benefit all the stake holders and their hard work has not gone unnoticed by the members of the community.

Recently the KCHD bylaws changed to stay legally compliant with the Special District Association requiring that each board member be elected rather than be made up of a board that was partially elected and partially appointed by county commissioners.

Ken Flory is the only candidate for the KCHD Board who is currently a sitting Director of the board. Ken began his tenure on the board as an appointed member by the Kiowa County Board of Commissioners and was appointed to the district board when Director Cathryn Anderson was removed from her position. Ken who has much experience volunteering as well as sitting on numerous boards is looking to continue his status as Director for a 3-year term.

-Ken was not available for comment when this edition went to press-

Karl Eikenberg is running to serve a 3-year term on the KCHD board of directors. Karl grew up in Haswell working on his family farm and has worked various positions as a diesel mechanic. Karl feels that his background clearly illustrates that he is a hard worker and someone who will fight for what is right.

“I’m a forward thinker and dedicated to serving the community and hospital. I have a voice that’s not afraid to speak up and believe with strong leadership, dedication, and communication our hospital will have a greater chance to succeed! If elected, I will take a deep look at the bylaws, policies, and job descriptions and find ways to help improve the overall operation of the district. This needs to be done to ensure that the board and all departments are on the same page and have a clear picture of what everyone’s roles are... Most importantly, I will do my best to help see that the hospital draws in people from surrounding areas, and in return, see our hospital thrive! I want to see our hospital be the place that everyone wants to come and that our community’s needs are being met.”

Matt Prince will be looking to receive enough votes to serve a 3-year term. Matt and his family moved to Eads a few years ago and have assimilated into the community nicely. Matt feels that he is better known as Claire’s husband, Charlie and Colin’s dad, or The Railroad Guy. Matt is the owner of CWC Rail which is based in Eads.

“I have experiences that would add value to the Kiowa County Hospital District Board of Directors. Some of these experiences include serving as President of the Alabama Railway Association, Vice Chairman of the Tennessee Shortline Railroad Alliance, board member of the Louisiana Railroad Association, board member of the Kiowa County Economic Development Foundation, and a number of other board associations. During my tenures, where I was involved with various boards, I have been part of reorganizations and educational events which proved successful in creating better organizations. I feel strongly that our hospital is a vital part of the future of Kiowa County and that community input and education are essential in protecting this asset. My family and I have chosen to make Eads and Kiowa County our home and cherish the way of life here.

Pamela Cole (Pam) is seeking election to serve a 1-year term. Pam was born and raised in Kiowa County and has lived for all but 10-years of her life on the same county road she currently resides on. Pam has recently retired as the Business Manager of the Eads School District after serving this position for 30 years.

“I am very familiar with having to operate within Federal, State and Local guidelines from my time at the school. I also understand public finances as well as general business practices, as I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management in 1997. I also understand the new management model of businesses, however, I do not agree 100% on how it is applied in certain circumstances. I feel there are several things within the KCHD that have been addressed, but there are more that have not. To me a successful business/medical facility starts with the leadership team; if you don’t have employees and customers/patients who trust and respect the leadership team and the care team then they won’t enjoy working or receiving care at the facility and will look for out of town options. It is my goal to work as part of the leadership team to create a great healthcare facility and make one in which all of our community members who have felt a need to seek their healthcare out of town will once again believe in our facility and return.”

Doug Uhland is also currently running for a seat on the KCHD board of directors for a 1-year term. Doug was born at Weisbrod Memorial Hospital “many years ago” and was raised and stayed in Kiowa County his entire life. Doug and his wife, have 4 children, 3 of whom all currently live in Kiowa County with 10 of their grandchildren. Having a large family plus extended family in the area makes Doug feel that having a hospital is vital to our community. “Do I claim to know how to run a hospital? The answer is No! But I am certainly not too proud to take advice from those who do have the knowledge to run one though. Along with the welfare of our citizens, our hospital employs many people from our community, and it is essential that we keep our doors open.”

Carol McDowell Jr. (Junior) is a native of southeast Colorado and has been a resident of Kiowa County for the last 17 years and is running for a 1-year term on the KCHD board. Junior is currently employed by Union Pacific Railroad and has worked his way up to a foreman position over the last eleven years.

“Over the last year I became aware of concerning circumstances that could have severe effects on the stability of our local hospital and clinic. I, along with a great number of Kiowa County citizens became very concerned as I watched our hospital and clinic lose not one but three providers in less than a year. Hard work, honesty, and common sense have always been a way of life for me. In my position as a foreman for Union Pacific Railroad I have learned how to manage people, budgets, and deadlines. With my personal integrity and business sense I know I could bring valuable skills to the Kiowa County Hospital District Board. Our community needs an up to date and functioning hospital and clinic and I will dedicate myself to ensure the stability of our hospital for future generations. I would greatly appreciate your vote.”

Anyone who received a ballot for the KCHD should mark not more than 2 candidates for a 3-year term and mark two for a 1-year term. Ballots should be turned into Beth Spady in person at the hospital or mailed to the hospital (postage required). All ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday May 3, 2022 to be counted. If anyone needs a replacement ballot or has any questions about their ballot, they may call the KCHD Designated Election Official Beth Spady at 719-438-5401 Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.

In order for your ballot to count, please be sure to follow the directions on your ballot security sleeves and return your ballot to the appropriate location for each district.

If you have any questions, you can contact the DEO for each district.

  • KCFPD Raina Lucero 719-688-1481
  • KCHD Beth Spady 719-438-5401

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