Marion County RECORD
Vol. 142 , No. 14
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Marion, KS 66861
Cell phone dealership to close
Gene Winkler, owner of G&J Video, 426 E. Main St., Marion, will stop selling Verizon Wireless cellular phones Saturday. Corporatization and what Winkler calls a lack of consideration for local dealers on the company’s part prompted the decision.
Development must continue, says group
Marion Economic Development Inc., composed of local business leaders, wants Marion City Council to understand that economic development is important to the city. A resolution was presented to Marion City Council Tuesday, encouraging the council to review the economic development position in a timely manner. MEDI Chairman Todd Heitschmidt said he and other MEDI members did not want to see city development take a backseat.
Christmas Day fire guts home
Marion Fire Department was called to Jack Branson’s home at 221 S. Garfield St., Marion, midafternoon Saturday. When firefighters arrived on the scene smoke was coming from the rafters of the two-bedroom home, Fire Chief Mike Regnier said Monday.
More deer crashes occur in evenings
According to State Farm Insurance, there’s a 1-in-172 chance that a motorist driving Kansas highways and byways will meet up with a deer as it crosses the road, based on 2 million drivers in the state. West Virginia drivers have the highest probability of crashes — 1-in-42, followed by Iowa, 1-in-67.
Icy bridges cause accidents
Area law enforcement agencies responded to at least 10 motor vehicle accidents Thursday night and Friday morning when drizzle froze on bridges, creating “black ice” on roadways. Accident reports were unavailable at press time. Full reports will be available in the next edition of this newspaper.
Hospital board approves physician recruitment package
The Marion County Hospital District No. 1 Board of Directors approved a physician recruitment package to bring in a full-time doctor after Linda Skiles left St. Luke Physician Clinic, owned by St. Luke Hospital, last year. The approved base salary for the physician was $200,000 a year.
Making 'happy music'
One thing is sure: Alex Stuchlik of rural Lost Springs loves polka music. He loves to listen to it and he loves to play it on his accordion. Customers often hear polka music wafting through the air when they visit him at the welding and repair shop on his farm.
Elsie Bezdek, 89, of Marion, died Dec. 27. A rosary will be recited at 7 tonight and a mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, both at St. Mark’s Catholic Church-Holy Family Parish, Marion.
Douglas R. Druse, 53, of Melbourne, Fla., died Dec. 17. He was born Jan. 4, 1957, in Marion, to Charles and Patricia (DeWitt) Druse.
Susan E. Schmidt, 103, of Goessel, died Dec. 25 in rural Goessel. Born July 19, 1907, in Marion County, to John A. and Elizabeth (Schmidt) Unruh, she was a homemaker.
Community vision challenge continues
Another year is about to end and what have we done? Last year at about this time, I challenged this community to come up with goals for the coming decade. I asked people to prioritize the importance of community issues including economic development, quality housing, and education.
Study shows community newspapers remain strong
According to National Newspaper Association, communities served by community newspapers continue to demonstrate heavy reliance upon their local papers for news and information. The study was conducted in November and recently released.
Common sense good for common cold and flu
(Editor’s Note: Physician’s Assistant Nita Bittle offers this advice for combating winter illnesses.) This time of year, it seems everywhere you go someone is coughing.
Seeds of something fine
On the way home from a family evening out a couple of weeks ago, I was staring out the car window, as I often do, and I saw a falling star. Such a sight has been a rare thing in my life, and it always makes me feel just the way I’m supposed to — I feel small and somehow special at the same time. That night, as that star blazed across the sky exactly where I was staring, I stopped mid-sentence just to watch it. By the time the star dissolved I couldn’t recall what I’d been saying.
Another Day in the Country
Usually forgiveness is one word but I like to see it as two words — for giving. Because forgiveness is a gift of expansive generosity, an openhanded present, a surprising exuberant award. The very act of planning a gift, presenting the gift (and the joy it brings) is a gift to the giver as well as the receiver. These last few days of 2010 are a great time to forgive, to just clear the floor, sweep out the trash, the hurts, the sadness, so that we have room to move fresh new things into our hearts, our minds, our lives.
Hope in the Heartland
The church will take a healthy step forward in 2011, if believers exchange their entitlement mentality for a heart of loyalty. In other words, we commit ourselves to supporting our local church simply because it is the right thing to do. When we release our assumed right to be entertained and take hold of our individual call to serve, then the Body of Christ can be everything that God intended. Are you committed to the church?
State Senate running amok?
2010: A year of challenges and changes
Many Marion County residents will remember 2010 as the year of strife and change. Here are the top 10 stories that were most talked about in 2010:
Decorated war veteran Ryan Newell was arrested Dec. 2 and accused of stalking and attempting to assault members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka. Newell attended a protest in Mulvane that day and followed church members to Wichita. Law enforcement apprehended Newell in the city hall parking lot. The Marion community and many from surrounding areas had rallied around Newell and his family as volunteers built a new home for them in June.
A state fire marshal representative investigated Marion County Jail following a report of overcrowding. The 1940s jail was housing up to 20 inmates in a facility with a designated capacity of 11. The state determined the jail could accommodate only four inmates based on square footage and ordered a 24-hour fire watch. In the meantime, a jail committee, appointed by the county commission to research and recommend a solution to replacing the outdated jail, disbanded. With input from the county and from an architect, the state fire marshal reversed the initial decision and decided the jail now can hold up to 16 inmates.
An oil pipeline from Canada to Oklahoma was constructed across Marion County but the real news about the project was a 10-year property tax exemption state officials gave to the foreign oil company, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LLC. Even though the Keystone Pipeline did not qualify for the exemption, lawmakers refused to back down. County officials from Marion and the other five counties the pipeline travels through contested the exemption. The final decision is now in the hands of the state board of tax appeals to make a decision. The exemption could cost Marion County an estimated $4 million per year in lost tax revenue.
Marion Mayor Mary Olson was accused March 12 of committing “an act of maliciously circulating false rumors concerning financial status.” City Attorney Dan Baldwin called for an investigation. Despite the allegations, Olson was elected in April to serve a second term as mayor. Kansas Bureau of Investigation concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute Olson for breaking any law.
School districts across the state took another hit when the state made another cut in education funding to balance the state’s budget. School districts in Marion County tightened their belts, requiring some to lay off staff and offer retirement packages to tenured teachers. Classrooms were consolidated and some programs cut.
Former Peabody residents were charged in the death of 19-month-old Vincent Hill in Newton. Chad Carr and the baby’s mother, Katheryn Nycole Dale, were charged March 31 in the toddler’s death. Dale was sentenced Sept. 30 to 34 months in prison for child abuse and aggravated endangerment of a child. Carr’s case will go to trial Jan. 24.
A $6.5 million renovation project began in July at St. Luke Hospital. St. Luke Foundation raised more than $1 million for the project. Renovation should be completed in the fall. With additions and improvements being made to the Marion hospital, ground was broken for a new hospital in Hillsboro. Construction has not yet begun but financing was in place to begin the project in 2011.
Duckwall-ALCO Store Inc. announced Duckwall’s in Marion will close, along with all Duckwall stores in Kansas. Despite letters from residents, including Marion Elementary School students, pleading with executives to keep the local store open, the store will close Jan. 9. It has been in Marion for 75 years.
Flags were desecrated at Peabody Prairie Lawn Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend. Nine flags were torn from poles and shredded.
Centre Elementary School was named Kansas Green School of the Year for recycling efforts, planting of a school garden and using the produce in the school lunchroom, and the management of a worm farm for production of natural fertilizer to be used in the garden.
Other news stories of interest were:
The renovation of Marion City Auditorium by Marion Advancement Campaign. The organization paid for the project and volunteer Gene Winkler performed much of the demolition and remodeling.
Ten people were injured July 13 when a violent thunderstorm packing 60 mph winds swept across Marion Reservoir and flipped over three recreational vehicles in a campground. All 10 were treated and released from area hospitals.
New state law prohibits teens from using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. On Jan. 1, all drivers in Kansas will be ticketed for texting while driving. Research has indicated that texting while driving — at any age — distracts drivers and can cause accidents.
The county special education cooperative was in crisis when director Chris Cezar told board members the budget was not going to be sufficient for expenses in 2011. Calculations indicated that the cooperative needed to cut more than $775,000 from the budget. Peabody-Burns School District requested to withdraw from the district, but the request was denied. The school district took its case to the state. In the meantime, USD 410 Business Manager Jerry Hinerman looked at the books and found an accounting error. The special ed cooperative was not in trouble after all. Cezar resigned his post and USD 398 returned to the cooperative, withdrawing its appeal from the state.
Marion County population has decreased 10 percent in the past 10 years.
It was a close election for three Marion City Council positions. Chris Meierhoff was the front-runner and only three votes separated Jerry Kline and Dick Varenhorst; Kline came out on top.
Roger Fleming, of Hillsboro, defeated longtime county commissioner Bob Hein of Hillsboro for the commission seat.
Bob Brookens was elected to a second term as state representative of the 70th District. He defeated Cheryl Green.
Norma Hannaford, 106, died July 8. The matriarch of Hannaford Abstract and Title Company, Hannaford was believed to be the oldest columnist in the state, offering wit and wisdom every week in the Marion County Record, with her Random Thoughts column.
Owner cooking up a new plan
Gretchen Unruh, owner of Gretchen’s Taste of Heaven bakery and restaurant, was told less than a month ago that she would have to move her business from its location in the former Mom and Dad’s Café, 113 S. Freeborn St., Marion, at the building owner’s request. “Everyone in town has rallied around her, wanting her to stay open,” waitress Bonnie Samuelson, Unruh’s daughter, said. “Marion can’t live without her baked goods. They’ve already tasted them once.”
Manager celebrates 25 years at Cooperative Grain
Lyman Adams of Hillsboro grew up on a farm in northwest Kansas. Times were tough and he was not the least bit interested in agriculture. He did not study ag-related subjects in high school or college. “I was not going to have anything to do with agriculture,” he said. “I was going to the big cities to find greener pastures.”
125 years ago
Swimmer advances to multi-state meet
Garrett Alleven of rural Marion will compete with swimmers from Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota Jan. 15 and 16 in the 27th annual Midwestern All-star Swim Meet in Lawrence. The 11-year-old Marion Elementary School student will represent the Missouri Valley Conference, which includes teams in Kansas and part of Missouri. To qualify for the meet, he had to have a top-five time in the league.
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