Author: Lila Whitmore

City Receives Donation

A local farmer who wishes to remain anonymous recently directed a $2,500 Bayer Fund America’s Farmers Grow Communities donation to the City of St. Francis. The City of St. Francis will use the funds to make improvements to the Bandshell at Sawhill Park.

“The City of St. Francis would like to thank the local farmer who made this donation possible.  The historic Bandshell is the centerpiece of Sawhill Park and is a unique asset for our community.  It is often the site of various events and functions, including weddings and concerts. The donation will be added to the Bandshell Fund which is designated for future improvements to the Bandshell”, said Lila Whitmore, St. Francis City Clerk.

Since 2010, the America’s Farmers programs have awarded more than $59 million to nonprofits, aspiring ag students and public schools across rural America. Farmers are leaders in their communities, which is why America’s Farmers programs rely on them to help identify the most worthy causes.

Dedicated to making a difference in rural farming communities, the Grow Communities program asks farmers across the country to participate by nominating nonprofit organizations with resources to strengthen their local communities. Last August, farmers entered for the chance to direct a $2,500 Grow Communities donation to a local eligible nonprofit of their choice. Farmers have directed donations to food banks, emergency response organizations, schools, youth agriculture programs and many others that reflect the spirit and support the vibrancy of rural America.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, including those in rural regions, and farmers play a critical role in helping communities overcome challenges, like the ones we’re currently facing” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund president. “Bayer Fund is proud to work side-by-side with farmers to identify local eligible nonprofit organizations that are able to provide their residents with solutions that leave a lasting impact.”

To learn more about how America’s Farmers programs are making an impact, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com.

About Bayer Fund

Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects.

Street Improvements Begin

July 21, 2021 – The Street Improvements Phase 1 project has begun! This $1.2 Million project was funded in part by a Community Development Block Grant of $600,000. The remaining cost is funded by General Obligation Bonds with a portion of the 1% local sales tax going towards repayment of the bonds.

Below is a map of the streets being repaired/updated in phase 1:

Benton: Spencer to Emerson

Denison: Spencer to Whittier

Frances: Second to First

Frances: Washington to Emerson

Parkway Drive: Fourth to Frances

Scott: Whittier to North

SBA Grant Opportunity – Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The Small Business Administration has a new grant opportunity through the American Rescue Plan Act, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which is designed to help restaurants and other food service businesses keep their doors open. The fund will provide applicants with funding equal to their pandemic-related lost revenue. This is a grant, not a loan, so as long as funds are used for eligible purposes by March 11, 2023, no repayment is required.

To help ensure equity, this program is currently in a 21 day priority period where only applications for underserved priority groups are being processed; this priority period closes Friday, May 14th. The SBA has asked for NLC’s help in spreading the word to priority group entrepreneurs: businesses that are at least 51% owned by individuals who are women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged. Applicants must self-certify on the application that they meet eligibility requirements. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.

This funding is designed to support the small businesses, with $5 billion set aside for businesses with up to $500,000 in revenue, and another $4 billion for those with gross receipts up to $1.5M. $500 million is specifically set aside for businesses with no more than $50,000 in revenue. To reach these businesses, SBA has partnered with Point of Sale (POS) providers, including Square, Toast, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha), and Oracle, to accept applications. Business owners can also apply directly at https://restaurants.sba.gov/. Please help spread the word to food service businesses in your community, including restaurants, food trucks, caterers, bakeries, and brewpubs, that they may be eligible for funding that can help them cover operating expenses as well as construct outdoor seating and purchase supplies to help them continue to respond to the pandemic.

for more information:

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund

Important Roofing Contractor Information

The Kansas Roofing Registration Act was enacted by the Kansas Legislature and signed by the Governor on April 22, 2013. Under the provisions of this law, on and after July 1, 2013, every “roofing contractor” must obtain a roofing contractor registration certificate from the Kansas Attorney General in order to legally provide commercial or residential roofing services for a fee in Kansas.

Homeowners are encouraged to reference the following website for a listing of roofing contractors who have completed the registration requirements pursuant to the Kansas roofing registration act, or contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 432-2310 for further questions:

www.ag.ks.gov/roofing

In addition to the registration certificate, before soliciting door to door roofing contractors must obtain a Peddler’s License issued by the City of St. Francis, which includes a background check and proof of insurance.

Here are some helpful tips to protect yourself from fraudulent door-to-door sales:

  • Never let a salesperson into your home unless you are sure of who they are and why they are there.
  • Ask to see their peddler’s license, it is required by your local city government.
  • Ask for written information on the company and salesperson and take plenty of time to read it and shop around, rather than making a purchasing decision on-the-spot. A legitimate salesperson will be happy to leave their business card and come back if you decide to make a purchase.
  • If the salesperson says it is a special deal for “today only,” it’s probably too good to be true.
  • Never pay for door-to-door purchases with cash. When possible, use a credit card, which will allow you to cancel or dispute the charge.

Filing Deadline for Local Office is June 1

The City of St. Francis will have 3 positions up for election in 2021: Three City Council positions currently held by Kale Dankenbring, Dara Carmichael, and Larry Finley. Those wanting to file for any of these positions need to do so by June 1 with the Cheyenne County Election Officer Scott Houtman:

  • Email:      cnclerk@cncoks.us
  • Hours:     8:00-12:00 1:00-5:00
  • Phone:   785-332-8800
  • Fax:          785-332-8825
  • Address1:              212 E Washington
  • City, State, Zip:    St Francis,  KS  67756

The general election will be held November 2 and those elected will take office on January 10, 2022.

Download the 2021 Candidates Guide at https://www.lkm.org/page/citycandidateguide

Goodwill Donation Drive

Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska is having a donation drive in St. Francis, Kansas beginning after noon on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 and continuing daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until noon on Monday, May 10, 2021, or until the trailer is full.  People living in St. Francis Kansas and the surrounding area can drop off their donations at the Goodwill Donation Trailer parked at the Community Recycling Center.

Virtually anything in your home or garage that you no longer use is accepted; clothing, household items, shoes, boots, purses, belts, hats, books, computers, printers, monitors and all computer accessories can be placed inside the Goodwill trailer. Due to limited storage space, furniture, televisions and large appliances are not accepted. Tax donation receipts are available at the trailer.

Goodwill appreciates the generosity of the people of St. Francis and the surrounding area. Revenue generated through the sale of donated items at Goodwill’s retail stores supports services for people.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska’s mission is to help people with disabilities or barriers achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. The organization fulfills this mission every day by supporting people to find jobs that match their talents and gifts, teaching skills leading to increased independence, helping people through the process of recovery and empowering people to focus on their strengths and abilities rather than a diagnosis or disability.

ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES OF GREATER NEBRASKA
Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska Inc. serves 55 counties in Central and Western Nebraska. Goodwill serves over 1,600 people every year. Donation centers/retail stores are located in Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte and Scottsbluff. Service office locations are located in Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte and McCook.

For questions please contact Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska, Inc. at (308) 384-7896.

Press Release for SPARK Funds

The Cheyenne County COVID Recovery Assistance Program is taking applications from businesses, non-profits organizations, government entities and individuals in Cheyenne County that have been affected by COVID. This program has been made possible through Phase 1 SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) Funding from the CARES Act and the Cheyenne County Commissioners.

In July, Cheyenne County was granted $526,610.00 through the SPARK Funding Program. The county commissioners appointed a Task Force and hired Cathy Domsch to facilitate the process. Task Force Members include: Ryan Murray, Emergency Management; Leslie Beims, County Attorney; Scott Houtman, County Clerk; and Kelley Milliken, Recovery Coordinator. Applications were accepted from major county stakeholders and submitted to the State for approval in August.
Those included were:
1) Cheylin – USD #103
2) St. Francis Community Schools – USD #297
3) City of St. Francis
4) Bird City Housing Authority
5) Cheyenne County Hospital/Clinics
6) Cheyenne County Village

Through this process, Cheyenne County SPARK Task Force and County Commissioners along with both the Bird City City Council and St. Francis City Council felt it imperative to set aside dollars to assist our local business community, non-profits, smaller government entities and individuals, so $85,827.07 was earmarked to create the Cheyenne County COVID Recovery Assistance Program. A separate steering committee consisting of Darci Shields, Teryn Carmichael, Carla Lampe, Tom Smull and Helen Dobbs has
been established to review and process the applications for this program.

Eligibility for this program is as follows:


Small Businesses: <50 employees
In operation in Cheyenne County on March 15, 2020
Negative impacts from COVID
Business must still be in operation
Eligible up to $10,000 (100% forgiven grant)

Non-Profits: In operation in Cheyenne County on March 15, 2020 Does not have to be a 501(c)3, but does need to be registered and in Good Standing with the Kansas Secretary of State
Negative impacts of COVID (non-profit must still be in operation)
Eligible up to $10,000 (100% forgiven grant)

Local Government Entities must meet 3 criteria for funding:

  1. COVID related expenses (reimbursements) March 1 – Aug 31, 2020
  2. COVID related expense not already budgeted for
  3. COVID related expense that has not already been covered by other
    funding source
    Eligible up to $5,000 for reimbursements and/or applications will be
    accepted for future expenses for overall public health of Cheyenne
    County, amount determined upon available funds (100% forgiven grant)

Individuals: Resident of Cheyenne County on March 15, 2020
Able to show two (2) forms of proof of residency and loss of employment
(or need) as of
March 15, 2020
Current annual income at or below $75,000 (or 300% the Federal Poverty
Level)
Categories of designated relief:
● Rent/Mortgage Assistance
● Utility Assistance
● Emergency Food/Prescription Assistance
● Healthcare/Childcare Assistance
Eligible up to $1000 (100% forgiven grant) Small Businesses

To apply for the Cheyenne County Recovery Assistance Program, contact Kelley Milliken at recoverycncoks@gmail.com or 303.358.9112. Applications are due by October 20, 2020. For more information on the Kansas COVID-19 Response and Recovery, see https://covid.ks.gov/

For more information on the Cheyenne County SPARK Funding and Recovery Assistance Program,
contact Kelley Milliken at 303.358.9112 or email to recoverycncoks@gmail.com.

CDBG-CV Grant Funds Available for Businesses

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are an important tool in supporting small Kansas communities. Now, as communities come together in their response to COVID-19, additional CDBG resources are being made available through the CDBG-CV program.

The City of St. Francis was awarded $173,600 in CDBG-CV funds.  Of this amount, $123,600 is designated for Economic Development.  Businesses interested in receiving CDBG-CV funds should contact the City Clerk’s office to obtain an application packet. 

The deadline for submitting applications to City Clerk Lila Whitmore is September 30 at 5PM. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

CDBG-CV Economic Development grants provide communities with funding to help local businesses retain jobs for low-to-moderate income people.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a CDBG-CV Economic Development grant, the recipient business must be a for-profit business and retaining jobs for low to moderate-income people. 51% or more of the full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs retained must be for persons from low to moderate-income households as defined by HUD.

CDBG-CV Economic Development grants can be used to pay for the following expenses:

  • Working capital such as wages, utilities, rent, etc.
  • The purchase of 60 days’ worth of inventory needed to reopen (60 days will begin on the day the business is allowed to reopen).

Award Amounts

  • Businesses with five or fewer employees (including the owner) are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per FTE job in CDBG-CV Economic Development grant funding (with a maximum of $30,000 per company).
  • Businesses with between six and 50 employees are eligible to receive up to $35,000 for each FTE job in CDBG-CV Economic Development grant funding (with a maximum of $50,000 per company).

The City Council’s goal is to award grants to all eligible businesses who submit an application.  The actual amount awarded to each business will be determined after the applications are reviewed. 

Justine Benoit with Northwest Kansas Planning & Development Corporation is the Grant Administrator for these funds.  She will review applications received to determine eligibility.  

Questions?  Please contact City Clerk Lila Whitmore at 332-3142.

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Second Round of CARES Act Funding Applications to Open August 19 at 12:00 p.m.

For Immediate Release:
August 13, 2020

Contact:        
Lauren Fitzgerald, Press Secretary  Lauren.fitzgerald@ks.gov

Governor Laura Kelly announces second round of CARES Act funding applications to open August 19 at 12:00 p.m.

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly has announced businesses will soon be able to apply for a total of more than $130 million in grants to serve those most affected by the pandemic and for companies that can expand broadband access in the state.

Information on SPARK economic development and connectivity grant programs can now be found online at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief. Grant applications will be accepted beginning at 12:00 p.m. Wed., Aug. 19, 2020.

“These funds will both provide necessary immediate relief to businesses and contribute to a more strategic, competitive Kansas economy in the future,” said Governor Kelly. “I want to thank the SPARK Taskforce for recommending these strategic investments and the State Finance Council for approving the use of these funds.”

In addition to providing financial relief, grants will be available to businesses whose products and services will be needed in greater volume to help combat the virus and its effects. Funding is also being made available to expand broadband access both through infrastructure improvements and by partnerships with internet service providers to serve low-income households. These grants are funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the federal CARES Act.

This pandemic has affected each sector differently, with industries having very different needs from one another. With this in mind, applications for grants are being made available in the following categories:

• Small Business Working Capital Grants
Kansas businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for Small Business Working Capital grants. Funds can be used to pay working capital expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage insurance, utilities, inventory and more. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.


• Securing Local Food Systems Grants
The Securing Local Food Systems grant program was created to support Kansas meat processing facilities, food processors, grocers and food banks to address food for human consumption supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

• PPE Procurement Grants
The PPE Procurement grant program will award businesses funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementation of workplace redesigns, additional signage, new technology solutions for distance working and other items to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work.


• PPE Manufacturing Grants
PPE Manufacturing grants will provide funding to manufacturers to reimburse certain costs to manufacture critically needed PPE. The grant funding will assist entities with creating new business while contributing to the fight against the current COVID-19 public health emergency.


• COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grants
Kansas has a strong pipeline of bioscience related companies developing SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic, therapeutic and medical counter measures. This grant program will accelerate commercialization and go-to-market strategies, allowing these Kansas companies to quickly deploy novel technology by optimizing value and reducing risk through informed decision making.

• Connectivity Emergency Response Grants
The Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) was created to address the increased need for connectivity in Kansas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed projects should improve connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of Kansas to address the needs of telework, telehealth, distance learning and other remote business services.


• Broadband Partnership Adoption Grants
The Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant will provide support for low-income households by partnering with ISPs to leverage their existing adoption infrastructure and assure connectivity to as many Kansans as possible.

• IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Certification Training Grants
To mitigate the job losses in Kansas as a result of COVID-19, the Kansas Department of Commerce is seeking a rapid response training program that will provide training, certificate testing and job placement assistance in the areas of IT, cybersecurity and IT project management.


• Kansas Tech College Advanced Manufacturing Grants
This program will support the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Kansas. The program will focus on reskilling/upskilling individuals affected by COVID-19 to meet economic sector needs in high-demand, high-wage occupations.


Details on each category, including award amounts, proposal requirements, eligibility and more can be found at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief.