Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Involved in the county

April 5, 2007

When she's not writing briefs or handling legal matters with the appraiser's office or the county treasurer, Keyta Kelly manages to stay heavily involved in activities for the county.

Lansing voters in Ward 3 may have encountered Kelly, the county counselor-at-large, Tuesday at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church, where she served as an election official.

This May, Kelly will accompany Bob Topping, Sally Hatcher and Laura Phillippi to the annual We Kan! Conference in Garden City.

"We're going to have a booth that promotes Leavenworth County as a whole," Kelly said. "We're going to be in costume, too, so that should be a lot of fun. Sally will be wearing a barn because she's on the barn alliance, you know. Bob will be dressed as a steamboat captain, and my husband and I will be going with an 1860s theme."

Kelly's altruistic nature and enthusiasm about Leavenworth's history has also helped beautify the county courthouse.

She was responsible for putting together the building's elaborate murals and the black-and-white historical photographs scattered throughout the courthouse.

"At the suggestion of Commissioner (Clyde) Graeber, who wanted something behind his bench, I went out and tried to find three different local artists (for the murals)," Kelly said.

The murals, painted by Ernst Ulmer, Michael Young and Brad Seever, were unveiled at the courthouse in December.

"(Gathering the historical photographs) was really fun, too, because I got to look through peoples' albums of their great-great-grandparents. I think they're a nice touch and add a bit of Leavenworth history to the courthouse," Kelly said of the pictures and their descriptions that line the walls of the building.

With her family, Kelly has given much more than just her time and energy.

When her husband, who has suffered from diabetes since he was 9, needed a second kidney transplant, Kelly "volunteered right away."

"I didn't think we would match, but I was tested and found to be a match, better than most siblings. They only did surgeries on Fridays, and that's what we did. It just happened to be on Valentine's Day."

NAME: Keyta Kelly

ADDRESS: Jarbalo Community

OCCUPATION: Leavenworth County counselor-at-large

FAMILY: Michael, husband; Rachel, 22, daughter; Kaitlyn, 21, daughter; and Garrett, 19, son

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA, AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? "Since I got married 25 years ago. My husband Mike is a native of Tonganoxie."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE AREA? "The geography is beautiful up in this part of the state."

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? "I started wood-carving. I took a class last fall, and I've been doing that in my spare time."

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? "They might be surprised that I gave a kidney to my husband four years ago on Valentine's Day."

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED? "There ain't no free lunch. My father always used to say that."

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