Ford County commissioners gave their blessing to the promotion of a long-time county employee to the office of deputy treasurer, as well as to the man whose task it is to curb the local prairie dog population, at their Feb. 3 meeting.

Sara Woods was promoted this week from tax clerk to deputy treasurer after 17 years of county service that began in the motor vehicles department.

Woods said County Treasurer Debra Pennington has trained her in the ways of the office for several months, so the promotion was one she has long awaited. She said she has Pennington’s blessing to run for the office of treasurer.

“What does this mean to you?” Commissioner Chris Boys asked Woods.

“It means the world to me,” she answered. “It means that you find me trustworthy and for that I thank you. I’m so glad to make it to this point after all my hard work.”

Pennington took office in 2001.

Commissioners welcomed the efforts of David Nichols, director of the county’s noxious weeds department, who said he was ready to treat prairie dogs west of town in accordance with the wildlife damage control license commissioners have issued him.

Nichols, together with departmental members, will canvass a 250-acre tract of land west of Dodge City with two four-wheelers loaded with prairie dog bait and visit the manifold holes the species dig and dwell in.

The infestation has caused problems for producers and farmers in the area, he said, who sometimes need to as much as double the acreage they make available to graze a herd of cattle, due to the destructive nature of the species’ home building.

Nichols said the cost to the county will be minimal.

"I'm trying to break even," he said. "This will be more cost effective for the farmers and producers in the area because we're not doing it for the money."

The wildlife damage control will begin this week.