• Arsonist ignites 1,200-acre blaze

    Arson was the cause of a large 1,200-acre grass fire that ignited at 11:25 p.m. Sunday southwest of Florence along 90th Rd. west of Xavier Rd., according to Kansas Fire Marshall. “I spoke with the marshal and the cause was ruled as ‘very suspicious,’” Florence fire chief Mark Slater said. “It started in the pasture, but we haven’t pinpointed what actually started it yet.”

  • Dallke balks, Winkler walks; EcoDevo discussion turns testy

    Curiosity may have once killed a cat, but it brewed a spat at Monday’s commission meeting when Gene Winkler apparently asked one too many questions. When Economic Development director Teresa Huffman said she pays half the cost for small businesses to advertise with slides shown before movies at Chisholm Trail 8 Theatres in Newton, Winkler wanted to know more.

  • Man jailed for alleged rape of minor

    Former Marion County resident Dakota Dillashaw, 21, Winfield, was booked into county jail Feb. 26 on a July warrant alleging he engaged in sexual intercourse with a child under 14 in May 2013, classified as rape under state law. Dillashaw was taken into custody by officers in Sumner County after they checked with Sheriff Rob Craft to see if the warrant was still active and if the county would transport him. Craft said he was unaware of the circumstances in which Dillashaw came in contact with Sumner County authorities.

  • Debesis named new EMS director

    Ed Debesis was announced as the new Marion County EMS director during Monday’s county commission meeting. Debesis, who has been serving as interim EMS director and will begin his new position March 28, had experience in a similar position when he was EMS director for Mitchell County EMS from 2008 to 2014.

  • Caucuses bring out record participants

    A record number of people turned out for the local Democratic and Republican caucuses Saturday, handing victories to Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. The Marion County Republican caucus brought out 645 voters, county Republican Chair Todd Heitschmidt said.

  • Coach says goodbye to 'stache for promise to team

    The Marion High girls’ basketball team gleefully anticipated the spectacle that unfolded in Kelly Robson’s garage Monday for the better part of three months. Armed with an electric razor with a trimmer and assisted by daughter Bailey holding a smartphone as a makeshift mirror, Coach Kelly trimmed away the moustache that few have ever seen him without.

  • Gas leaks for a week

    It took Atmos Energy officials a week to seal the leak in Nanette Lowry’s gas line after the meter was struck by a pickup truck — but Lowry spent that week wondering who would pay for the damage. The gas meter was struck the evening of Feb. 25, causing emergency evacuation of the Lowry home and the Presbyterian Church across the alley. A week later, the meter still stood crooked and an odor of gas still wafted in the air.

  • County EcoDevo director Huffman stays the course and then some

    For Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman, her plans for the months ahead are simple: Keep doing what she’s been doing – which also means the plans are complex. “My job is different every day,” Huffman said. “When I come in here I think I know what I’m going to do, then the phone rings, people come in, and I’m off to who knows where.”


  • Miles by Design to locate to business park

    Marion business Miles by Design Salon and Spa will relocate from its Main St. location to the former Superior Wine and Liquor building at 1240 Commercial St in Marion Business Park, north of US-56. Owner Karen Miles said interior demolition was nearly complete, and remodeling would start this week.

  • New band teacher begins in August

    Marion schools will have a new band teacher for the 2016-2017 school year after USD 408 school board gave the nod Monday night to a teacher to step into outgoing band teacher Chris Barlow’s shoes. Barlow, who has been with Marion schools since 2012, recently resigned to move to Salina along with his wife, Kate Barlow, and their young daughter. Kate Barlow is a speech pathologist at Marion County Special Education Cooperative.

  • Quilt comes full circle at auction

    A quilt purchased at the Father Kapaun Guild auction in 2013 was purchased again Sunday in the 2016 auction by the same person and may show up there again. This phenomenon demands an explanation.

  • Grassfire threatens rural home

    A rural home was threatened in one of two grassfires Hillsboro firefighters battled this weekend. Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said 20 Hillsboro and Marion firefighters responded to a small grassfire started at 11:30 a.m. Sunday near 160th and Limestone Rds.

  • Flurry of drug arrests in Peabody last week

    Four Marion County law enforcement agencies arrested five people in Peabody on a variety of charges during the late-night hours of March 2 and early morning hours of March 3. Alexis Worthington of Newton was arrested March 2. She was charged with criminal damage to property and possession of methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia. She was booked into Marion County jail early on March 3.

  • Burn unit work leaves mark on retired nurse

    Twilla Baker of Lincolnville will never forget the time when her father-in-law became one of her patients. She was supervisor of St. Francis (Via Christi) Critical Care’s burn unit when her father-in-law, who was in his 70s, was welding near his home in Valley Center and sparks ignited a fire. He tried to stamp it out, setting himself on fire.


  • Mary Jolley

    Mary Alice (Wilson) Jolley, Marion, died March 6. There will be no services.

  • Dennis Ryff

    Ramona resident Dennis Dean Ryff, 59, died Feb. 29 at Wichita. A funeral service was March 4 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Herington. Burial followed at Lewis Cemetery, Ramona.


    Tom Andrews

    Donald Leppke

    Donald Nightengale



  • Walking the fields and reading the wheat

    There is a relatively new agronomist out there walking between the rows, interpreting the growth of Marion County crops. Andy Kelsey, 25, started with Cooperative Grain and Supply about a year ago.

  • Prices fall, farmers tighten belts

    Falling grain prices are putting the squeeze on farmers’ incomes heading into spring. Wheat is selling at elevators for $2 less than at harvest time last year, and corn, beans, and milo are down considerably from last October.

  • Longtime auctioneer gives back to FFA

    Auctioneer Roger Hiebert conducted yet another Marion-Florence FFA work auction two weeks ago, a volunteer gig he’s been doing about 40 years now. It’s a way Hiebert gives back to an organization and a discipline that in the 1950s gave a shy young country lad what he needed to succeed in school. When Hiebert entered Hillsboro High School as a freshman in 1955, it was an abrupt change from attending elementary school in Aulne.

  • Raising poultry still popular with some

    Not many people purchase day-old chicks in large numbers for meat and eggs these days, but some still enjoy having their own eggs. Ben and Tina Schrag, who farm northwest of Goessel, maintain a flock of 60 to 65 laying hens to produce eggs for their own use and also to sell to family and friends.

  • USDA offers noninsured crop protection

    Producers of noninsurable crops can get some relief from USDA Farm Agency when their crops are compromised by natural disasters. The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides financial assistance to producers when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented plantings occur due to natural disasters.


  • Minus 348 and 19

    You’re probably wondering right now, “Minus 348 and 19 what?” I won’t keep you in the dark for long, but I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with economic development. Yes siree, it’s that topic again. Trust me, I’d rather be writing about light-hearted things, such as speculating on what the next color combination of Marion’s Central Park lights will be. But I seem to be the only one curious about such things, while lots of folks are suddenly interested in the survival of the county.


    The Elephant in the Room



  • Pizza time: Preschoolers learn where pizza comes from

    An aspiring brigade of “master pizza chefs” invaded Marion Pizza Hut on Thursday. Marion Head Start classes took a learning journey to the local business as part of their restaurant unit, teacher Lesli Beery said.

  • MMS teachers get Atmos grant

    Some Marion Middle School students are experiencing expanded opportunities thanks to a teacher who pursued a little extra money. Middle school teacher Julie Trapp recently accepted a $250 grant award from Atmos Energy for her sixth grade science class.

  • MHS welders take 4th at competition

    Marion High School students received fourth place March 4 at the Kansas Metal Inert Gas Welding Institute invitational welding contest in Beloit. Team members were required to interpret blueprints to correctly place and perform five welds, and were given a written test on MIG welding.

  • Kindergarten screening to be March 24

    Those with preschoolers who will be eligible for kindergarten in the fall may attend kindergarten screening March 24 at Marion Elementary School. Children who are 5 years old on or before Aug. 31 are kindergarten-eligible.

  • Area school menus


  • Cold shooting ends Warriors' season

    It was the wrong night and wrong opponent for Marion’s shooting touch to disappear, as the Warriors ended their season with a disappointing 44-34 loss to Southeast of Saline in a substate seminfinal game Friday at Halstead. Kourtney Hansen, who led the Warriors with 12 points, put Marion on top with a score on the Warriors’ first possession, 2-0.

  • Bowling results


  • Calendar of Events

  • Red Cross at Eastmoor March 17

    March is Red Cross month, and Red Cross will be receiving donations from 2:15 to 6 p.m. March 17 at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion. Appointments may be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, visiting redcrossblood.org

  • Senior Citizens of Marion County to meet March 18

    Mill levy requests top the agenda for a Senior Citizens of Marion County meeting at 9:30 a.m. March 18 at Peabody Senior Center. Peabody seniors will be serving lunch and need reservations by March 16. Reservations may be made by calling Ruth Lott at (620) 983-2226.

  • Tree grants available

    Landowners, who have property adjacent to Marion Reservoir and in the Upper Cottonwood River watershed, can apply for financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture to improve water quality and wildlife habitat and plant trees on those acres. Eligible landowners can receive a cost share of up to 90 percent. Primary resource concerns are water quality degradation from soil erosion and the health and condition of trees in woodlands and forests. If a resource concern is identified, forestland, cropland, and grassland all have the potential to qualify for the funding.

  • Dr. Seuss, a movie, and a makeover at the library

    Marion City Library will offer a trio of events for children during spring break. An animated movie about an Apatosaurus named “Arlo,” who makes an unlikely human friend in the world of dinosaurs, will screen at 2:30 p.m. March 16 in the Santa Fe Room.

  • Cajun-inspired cooking class scheduled

    Chef Rob Scott will be offering a Cajun-inspired cooking class from 6 to 8 p.m. March 21 in the Hillsboro Middle and High School teachers workroom. Deadline to sign up is March 16. The cost is $20, and class size is limited to 15.

  • Smart driver course offered March 21-22

    Drivers may qualify for reduced car insurance rates by completing a smart driver safety course from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 21 and 22 at Burns Community Center. The class, which will be taught by Richard and Marilyn Riemer, is for all licensed drivers and will meet for two four-hour classes. No actual driving will be required for the course.

  • Water aerobics classes offered at aquatic center

    Water aerobics classes, taught by Karen Williams, have begun at Marion Sports and Aquatic Center. Classes are offered 6 to 7 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and cost is $5. All fitness levels are welcome to attend.

  • Public invited to garden program

    Denise Fetrow of Cedar Point will present a garden program at 2 p.m. March 13 at the Florence Public Library. Fetrow, who has been a master gardner since 2010, will talk about a planting calendar for vegetables and share what flowers can be planted in the Kansas climate.

  • Phil Keaggy to perform

    Guitarist and singer-songwriter Phil Keaggy will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. March 19 at McPherson Opera House. Singer-songwriter Ashley Cleveland will open the show. Tickets are $25, $30, and $35, student tickets are $10, and are available by visiting www.mcphersonoperahouse.org, calling (620) 241-1952.


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