Norton County Community Foundation Awards $10,000 in June and July Grant Cycles

Norton, Kansas, August 2022 – Norton County Community Foundation (NCCF) awarded $10,000 in the June and July grant cycles. Funds were part of the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund, which offers financial support to qualifying and deserving projects and programs in Northwest Kansas. Grant funds supported the following projects:
  • Norton County Sheriff’s Office received $5,000 for a K-9 Unit
  • Almena Area Rural Fire Department received $5,000 for a Brush/Grass Fire Firetruck
According to the grant application, the Norton County Sheriff’s Office is starting a K-9 unit, which will primarily be used for Narcotics Detection and Tracking. Their goal is to increase the arrest and prosecution of drug users and distributors in Norton County. Grant funds were used toward the purchase of the dog and necessary training. Deputy Blecha has visited the facility and met Norton’s dog, which is a 9-month-old German Shepherd named Jaida. They will begin training in late August.
The Almena Area Rural Fire Department requested funds to help purchase a pickup chassis and flatbed equipped with all necessary parts and pieces needed to be a fire rig. The department serves Norton County and surrounding counties when needed; the current equipment needs updated to sufficiently cover the 102-square miles in our district. Our area of Norton County is in a designated drought area, and there are many acres of continuous grass land. When a fire starts, it can move quickly – affecting homes, businesses, and animals. Updated equipment will provide better safety for the volunteers and county as a whole.
The guidelines and application for the Hansen Community Grant can be found on NCCF’s website at Applications are due the last day of the month to be considered for the next month’s funding. For more information, please contact Bethany Shirk at 785.874.5106,, or visit the NCCF office at the Heaton Building in Downtown Norton, KS, located at 112 S. Kansas Street.
About Norton County Community Foundation
The Norton County Community Foundation was established in 1994 for the purpose of supporting local charitable activities in Norton County through endowments made to the foundation. Dedicated to serving today for tomorrow, to make our community a better place in which to live. Connect with the Norton County Community Foundation at
Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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