• County takes steps to buy land for jail

    Marion County voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject a one-half cent sales tax to build a new jail, sheriff’s department, and dispatch on April 5. Marion County Commission will vote Monday whether to put the issue on the upcoming ballot after considering alternative financing methods. They had a phone conference with bond counsel David Artebury on Thursday and Tuesday, and he presented financing options for property tax, sales tax, and a combination of the two.

  • Council split on development post

    Marion City Council approved a list of goals Monday, prioritized at a retreat Feb. 14. At the top of the immediate issues to be addressed within the next six months was economic development and tourism prior to the decision. However, five minutes prior to the decision, three of the five council members were not ready to commit to actually filling the vacant economic development position.

  • Dreaming for the disabled

    When Heather Vinduska and Jane Wiens organized a public forum Thursday in Hillsboro to discuss a facility for mentally disabled adults, they hoped to create a discussion that would spark the imaginations of concerned parents. Like those parents, they are hoping the discussion will eventually evolve into a local resource for their children — Sheldon Wiens who has Asperger’s syndrome and Vincent Vinduska who has Fragile X.

  • Marion, Hillsboro will work together for clean water

    Marion City Council approved an interlocal cooperation agreement Monday with the City of Hillsboro to mitigate zebra mussels at Marion Reservoir. The purpose of the agreement is to explore options to assure the cities’ water supply intake source is not compromised by the infestation of the mussels.

  • Newell receives financial, moral support from strangers

    Although much of the sensationalism around Ryan Newell’s arrest has subdued, people have not forgotten about him. Multiple donors have contributed money to Newell’s defense fund.

  • Students hear wheelchair doesn't slow Hett down

    Everybody has times when they tell themselves, “I can’t do this,” Torey Hett told Hillsboro Elementary School students Monday. But in many cases, when a person really tries, they find it isn’t as difficult as it seems. Hett, a Marion resident, has had those feelings many times. He was born with spina bifada, a condition in which part of his spinal cord protrudes from his vertebrae. Because of the condition, he can’t feel his legs or feet and uses a wheelchair.

  • MES principal moving on to Topeka

    Marion Elementary School principal Rod Garman has resigned. Although he will finish the 2010-11 school year at MES, he accepted a position as principal at North Fairview Elementary School with USD 345 in Topeka. Garman is returning to his teaching stomping grounds. He taught eight years at Elmont Elementary School, which is one of six elementary schools in the district.


  • George Ens

    G. George Ens, 90, of Hillsboro, died Feb. 17 at Parkside Homes, Hillsboro. Born Nov. 10, 1920, in rural Garden City, to Gerhard K. and Anna (Wiebe) Ens, he was a physician.

  • Ernest Goertz

    Ernest A. Goertz, 88, of Goessel, died Feb. 18 at Bethesda Home in Goessel. He was born May 2, 1922, at home in rural Harvey County, to Henry and Martha (Schmidt) Goertz, the fifth of six children.

  • Martha Melcher

    Former Pilsen area resident Martha R. Melcher, 96, of Herington, died Feb. 17 at Herington Municipal Hospital. She was born Aug. 29, 1914, at Cameron, Texas, to Peter and Agnes (Mikula) Konarik.



  • Cattleman's son finds God in jail

    What would it be like to sit in a jail cell feeling totally isolated from family and friends? Todd Beneke of Lincolnville knows the feeling. He spent 149 days in the Chase County Jail in Cottonwood Falls in 2010 awaiting sentencing on a criminal charge. He had been in and out of jail several times before, but this time there was no one to bail him out. No one visited him or gave him a call to see how he was doing. He felt abandoned.

  • Mennonite threshing stones were made of flint rock

    One of the practices early Mennonite settlers brought to central Kansas from the Ukraine was the use of threshing stones to harvest wheat. According to Glen Ediger of North Newton, who is conducting an independent research project on the stones, local stonemasons or the farmers themselves fashioned the threshing stones from limestone rock quarried in Marion County. The stones were distributed to the farming communities where the Mennonites had settled.

  • Burns elevator gets upgrades

    The grain storage capacity at the Mid-Kansas Cooperative elevator at Burns will double under current plans to upgrade the facility. According to Eric Lange, director of operations of the southern division of the co-op, the present capacity of approximately 750,000 bushels (including temporary storage) will increase by 850,000 bushels with the addition of three new steel bins.

  • Sires listed in AAA report

    Harms Plainview Ranch of Lincolnville owns two bulls listed in the spring 2011 Sire Evaluation Report published by the American Angus Association. According to Kim Harms, the listing indicates each bull has sired at least 35 yearlings and has increasingly accurate Expected Progeny Differences. The report also signifies that at least five calves sired by the bull have been registered since Jan. 1, 2009.

  • Spring calving operation goes on despite snowstorm

    Despite 20 inches of snow and temperatures well below zero a few weeks ago, the spring heifer-calving operation at the Chuck DeForest farm northeast of Florence is going strong. Forty-three first-calf heifers were exposed to bulls for 42 days — so far, 30 heifers have dropped their calves.

  • Grain prices outpacing cost of production

    Although many Marion County farmers have sold their past year’s grain production, the future looks bright as they look ahead to this year’s production; that is, if nothing happens to change the dynamics of the market. Grain prices have risen steadily since August.


  • Improvements announced

    County commissioner Dan Holub attended the city council meeting Feb. 7 and reported there will be improvements made to the Tampa road to K-15, which will include adding 6 inches of asphalt. Paul Backhus asked if the county planned to improve the road east of Tampa. Holub replied it would be double chipped and sealed.


  • Pay sales tax for a new jail or pay for a lawsuit

    It appears that the county commission is ready to take decisive action regarding the jail. Increasing taxes — property or sales tax— is not a popular decision, one I’m sure the commission struggled to make.

  • Legislators will report to us Saturday

    There are numerous issues facing state legislators right now — funding, pipeline property tax exemption, and budget shortfalls, to name only a few. We have an opportunity to hear it straight from the legislators’ mouths Saturday when Sen. Jeff Longbine and Rep. Bob Brookens visit Hillsboro and Marion. They will talk with constituents 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the city building in Hillsboro and then will travel to Marion for a 10 a.m. meeting at the Marion Community Center, formerly the municipal auditorium.

  • Legislative update

    Monday was the last day for committees to meet and distribute bills that start in the house of origin. After Monday, I will spend my time on the floor of the House looking at House bills. Recently, I spoke of the national health care law and the Kansas legislature’s response to it. This week’s health news deals with another matter and the legislature may be plowing new ground in Kansas through what is called an “apology” bill.

  • Seeds of something fine

    As a mother, the approaching end of the last vestiges of my daughter’s babyhood is a strange time. I see the swell and glow of pride as she drinks from a big-girl cup for a whole meal and I literally want to jump up and down with her. I know that feeling. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt it but I want her to enjoy every moment of that growing realization: I can! I do look forward to even a few more moments to myself as we say good-bye to the last pacifier — no more moments of panic searching under car seats when we realize “passy” is missing. No more sinking dread if I happen to forget one on a trip. No more having one stashed in every purse and car compartment and spares at grandma’s house to be sure we can avoid trauma that brings life to a full stop until “passy” is found.

  • Another Day in the Country

    I’ve had chickens now for quite a few years. Only once did I try to eat one of them. Even though it had been lovingly raised, well fed, and treated gently right up to the end, it didn’t taste good to me. Being a 95 percent vegetarian has its limitations. My chickens have been egg producers and not just plain white eggs either. They have been the chosen few who lay green eggs, blue eggs, brown eggs, beige, apricot, and pink eggs. During the winter, when I’m having to thaw the ice and bring fresh water through snow, sleet, and blizzard, I remind myself that gathering eggs (especially before they freeze) is like having Easter every day of the week.

  • Hope in the Heartland

    The two opposing forces are not equally matched. It’s not even close. In fact, one commander has declared victory with time still on the clock. And He’s holding the clock, not letting anyone else see it. The hostilities started somewhere else. Then God’s enemy slithered into the first garden and recruited humans to join the anti-God forces; everyone since that time has — and it’s not a fair fight.


  • Confirmands conduct service

    On Confirmation Sunday Feb. 13 at Aulne United Methodist Church, nine young people re-affirmed their baptism and were welcomed into full membership in a special worship service. They were Jennifer Fruechting, Erika Just, Mckenzee Remmers, Becca and Courtney Williams, Cheyenn West, Quinton Hett, Ryan Nelson, and Jared Hague.


    Assisted living, Burdick, Senior Center

    10, 25, 35, 50, 60, 100, 125 years ago


  • Students inspire on fine arts day

    Marion High School students demonstrated their artistic abilities for Marion Elementary School students Friday at the MES Fine Arts Day. Along with high schoolers performing forensics routines — monologues, improvised plays, and comedy pieces — advanced art students from Jim Versch’s art class at MHS presented elementary students with artistic keepsakes the young students may treasure.

  • Hillsboro Middle School student wins county spelling bee

    It was a word that is known to most students or anyone who operates a computer — gigabyte. Hannah Funk, a seventh-grade student at Hillsboro Middle School, spelled “gigabyte” correctly Feb. 16 at USD 408 Performing Arts Center, Marion, and won the Marion County Spelling Bee.

  • Online classes open doors for Centre students

    Students who are frustrated by the choices available in their curriculum — the lack of classes that interest and challenge them — have a new option available to them this year. About 10 Centre High School students are using the virtual school program at Centre, provided by Lincoln Interactive, to enhance their learning experience.

  • Marion-Florence FFA wins district entomology contest

    Marion-Florence FFA placed first in all three divisions of the South Central District FFA Entomology Contest on Thursday at Marion High School. Individuals placing in the A-team division were Nicholas Meyer, first; Caitlyn Maloney, second; and Alicia Maloney, fourth. Marion-Florence took nine of the top 10 places in the freshman division; Abbey Smith placed first; Jordan Laurin, second; Clint Kroupa, third; Amanda Stuchlik, fourth; Kelli Hess, fifth; Zac Lewman, seventh; Katey Ehrlich, eighth; Kaitlyn Frese, ninth; and Lauren McLinden, 10th.


  • Warriors lose to Sedgwick, 61-36

    The Marion High School boys basketball team led early in the third quarter Tuesday after Jacob Harper canned a 3-pointer to put the Warriors up 27-26. Sedgwick responded with two layups to regain the advantage 30-27.

  • Girls fall to Cardinals

    The Marion High School girls basketball team lost 45-30 Tuesday to Sedgwick in Marion. The Cardinals went on an 8-0 run to open the game and the closest the Warriors got to Sedgwick in the game was a 7-point deficit in the third quarter.

  • Regnier, Carroll win regional wrestling titles

    Marion High School sophomore wrestler Brody Carroll had brought the regional championship match of the 130-pound weight class to overtime Saturday at Beloit by being a patient, intelligent wrestler. Adrian Lange of Lyons defeated Carroll, 5-3, earlier in the season at Halstead. Carroll gave up a takedown when that matched was knotted at zero at the end of the first round. Lange’s position ahead of Carroll in the state rankings had been secure ever since.

  • 5th, 6th-grade boys compete in tourney

    Marion and Hillsboro fifth and sixth-grade boys competed Feb. 12 in the Marion Recreation Commission postseason tournament at Marion Elementary School and Marion Middle School gymnasiums. In the fifth-grade boys division, first-seed Newton Black was the champion, defeating Hillsboro and Newton Gold.


    Cougars add 3 to the win column, Centre girls defeat Chase County


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