From the high of a state championship football game to the devastation of an officer-involved shooting, the final quarter of 2018 was anything but smooth sailing for Prattans.
The reopening of McDonalds, a trip to the state championship football game for the Pratt Greenbacks, new opportunities and a devastating shooting incident kept Prattans on an emotional roller coaster in the final quarter of 2018. But the holiday season came and went like usual, as one year ended and other begins.
Happy Meals and Big Macs are officially back in Pratt. Crowds of fans waiting in line when the new McDonalds store officially opened for business at 5 a.m. Tuesday, October 23.
Location issues and rain delays pushed the original opening date in July back and back, but the last touches were put on the building and an official ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Oct. 22. Employees, executives, chamber members and other guests packed the new facility to watch the official ribbon cutting.
The Pratt High School drumline corp played for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Tonja Harrison of Balloons and More, prepared and set up lavish outside balloon decorations for the opening.
The Pratt High Greenback football team put heart and soul into a journey to the state game that ended with a tough loss 43-42 on November 27, 2018. They were undefeated prior to that game.
“The 2018 season is one that our players can truly take pride in. We ended the season with a tremendous game and I couldn’t be more proud of our kids,” said head coach Jamie Cruce.
Local man shot
Rene Prieto, a local family man, substitute school teacher and produce delivery truck driver was shot by Pratt officers during a disturbance on North Main in Pratt on November 13.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation released a report stating that Prieto shot at officers and they returned fire. Prieto died from bullet-wounds a week later.
The three officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave, then later cleared to go back to work. The incident is still under investigation, according to the KBI.
Open in Iuka
Hunters coming to Pratt County and people looking for a good place to eat lunch now have a new place to go, Old School Outfitters in Iuka, Kan. Luke and Caitlin Laha, the owners of this new venture celebrated a grand opening and ribbon- cutting ceremony in December. Both are no strangers to the outdoor industry. Both Lahas have a lifetime of experience in the outdoors. Luke grew up hunting waterfowl and turkeys in Oklahoma with his Grandpa Henry and chasing upland birds in Kansas with his father Jeff Laha. Caitlin has been involved in the outdoor industry her whole life. She remembers going on goose hunts with her father Scott, as a young girl and accommodating hunting groups at her parents’ guide service since she was 5 years old. Together, the Laha’s passion has always been about the outdoors and giving back to the heartland of Kansas. Last year, the couple approached the Iuka City Council and asked if they would be interested in selling the old K-8 grade school to turn it into a hunting service, café, and coffee shop. With the help of family and friends, the Laha’s dream is now a reality.
During the grand opening, tours of the school were given and changes explained. The four class rooms have been split into two and turned into eight bedrooms with two queen beds, each room having its own theme. The music room is now a master suite with a king bed and private library and officespace, the cafeteria is the café and coffee shop, the stage is a conference room that seats up to 30 people, and the half of the old gym is now the entertainment room for guest to enjoy each other’s company.
The lodge has 17 beds and can sleep up to 34 people. The old secretary’s office has been transformed into a Pro Shop, which currently has apparel and homemade jelly.
The school also houses The Lunchroom Café and Coffee, which serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday.