Vol. 121 , No. 43
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Hillsboro, KS 67063
UPDATED AFTER PRINT DEADLINE
Tripling of cases fails to move county; yet more new cases disclosed
Despite the county's COVID-19 case total more than tripling since their last vote, county commissioners reaffirmed Monday their decision to opt out of a statewide order requiring face masks in public places when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained. Hours later, yet another confirmed case was added to the county's total — a man in his 50s, listed Monday evening as the county's 34th victim of COVID-19. It was the eighth new case in five days. A day later, a 35th probable victim was revealed — a man in his 20s.
Vet to spay, neuter farm cats
Animal Health Center of Marion County will offer to spay and neuter farm cats for reduced prices starting at 9 a.m. July 21. Cats cannot have had food or water after 8 p.m. the night before and must be dropped off at the Animal Health Center in a clean, sturdy, carrier and picked up between 4 and 5 p.m.
COVID-exposed inmates untested as officials debate their roles
Despite a positive test from within the jail complex and horror stories nationwide about COVID-19 spreading in jails, inmates at Marion County Jail have not been tested. As best as can be determined, both the sheriff’s department and the health department are waiting for each other to act.
Masks: Preference for some, necessity for others
Whether to require face masks in public, which Harvey and Reno Counties this week began requiring, has been a divisive issue in Marion County, which overturned a state requirement for masks. Doug Regnier, co-owner of Marion Auto Supply, doesn’t wear a mask but keeps boxes of disposable masks and bottles of hand sanitizer on his store’s counter.
Sparks fly over blackout
A blackout that lasted 9¼ hours Saturday again knocked out power for many in Marion, particularly Main St. businesses. Gambino’s Pizza co-owner Judy Smith doesn’t know how many more power failures her business can take.
County ups ante in wind farm road dispute
Who’s responsible for the weather is a key element of what’s likely to be a major lawsuit between the county and its northern wind farm. County commissioners contend Diamond Vista is obligated to make $473,020 worth of road repairs. The wind farm contends some of the damage was caused by weather and not their responsibility. Commissioners consider storm damage to be an expected part of Kansas weather and the wind farm’s responsibility.
Eitzen sole remaining defendant
Peabody farmer and wind farm opponent Randy Eitzen now goes it alone as the only remaining defendant in a lawsuit Expedition Wind developers originally filed against him and five others. Although all defendants in Expedition Wind’s suit hoped to see the lawsuit dismissed Friday, judge Steven Hornbaker dismissed all but Eitzen, from whom Expedition hopes to collect more than $35 million on their claim of abuse of process.
Auntie Em, where are all the twisters?
Conditions always are ripe for severe summer storms in Kansas, but tornado season is off to a historic late start. Through mid-July, there have been no tornadoes reported in Marion County.
Woman wields knife after chase
A Peabody woman led Peabody police, Marion and Harvey County deputies, and North Newton police on a chase Friday that ended with her allegedly wielding a knife at police on I-135 near Newton. Karen N. Fleischer, Peabody, was reported with a knife at 3:18 p.m., but officers were able to arrest her without injury, according to police radio transmissions.
Tire fire melts parts of semi
The driver of a Kenworth semi escaped injury Friday afternoon after one of the rig’s back tires ignited and burned hot enough to melt aluminum. “He was lucky not to roll it over or anything,” Marion fire chief Preston Williams said. “You never know with a different kind of trailer, it could have turned into quite an ordeal.”
Bail dispute leads to arrest
A Goessel woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit domestic battery after a misunderstanding over a phone call led to a shoving match with her daughter. According to undersheriff David Huntley, Nancy K. Blankley, 58, Goessel, thought her daughter was calling to bond an acquaintance out of jail in another county, but the daughter was actually paying a bill by phone.
Show must go on for opera
Flint Hills Opera workshop is working to keep its performances as normal as possible, but Randy and Rachel Collett are two former customers who already know they won’t be making the trip. Randy, as Marion’s economic development director, was heavily involved when the workshop was in Marion two years ago. It is at Chase County High School, but Randy would have felt confident in the ability to maintain social distancing if organizers wanted to hold the camp in Marion.
Fire trucks add a splash of fun
With the city’s pool closed, Hillsboro Fire Department is trying to rescue summer fun for children. At 2 p.m. every Friday, a fire truck will visit one of the city’s neighborhoods and “make it rain” for anyone who wants to get soaked.
For now, fair plans modified 4-H judging
Organizers have canceled the Marion County Fair, but elements of the annual event will go forward with modified 4-H and livestock judging. “We are trying to have some type of fair regardless,” county extension agent Tristen Cope said. “We have made several modifications as things have progressed.”
Burdick cancels Labor Day
Burdick’s annual Labor Day celebration has been canceled because of uncertainty over COVID-19. “We feel that it is in the best interest of the community and those who attend that we don’t put anyone at risk with the events that we had planned,” Connie Johnson said on behalf of the Burdick Council of Clubs.
VFW recycling aluminum cans
VFW Post 6958 in Marion accepts aluminum cans to be donated to Honor Flights , which arranges all-expense-paid three-day trips for World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to visit their memorials in the District of Columbia. Member Dan Holub says donors can deposit bagged aluminum cans into a cage on the west side of the Marion VFW post.
Civil division cases
County jail arrests and bookings
Criminal division cases
Police activity reports
Traffic division cases
State to help rebuild Nighthawk, other roads
The state department of transportation Thursday announced it will share the cost of reconstructing 20 miles of county blacktops and portions of two Peabody streets this summer. An outside contractor will install new concrete bases and double chip seal overlays in the $2.6 million county project.
Elm St. loses out, but curb to be replaced regardless
After delaying for more than a year in hope of receiving a grant that ended up being denied last week, Marion City Council decided Monday to go ahead and repair damaged curbing along Elm St. that led to a riverbank collapse. Projects on Coble, Roosevelt, and Freeborn Sts., which the city tried to roll into the grant, will be postponed until 2021.
Poor farm owner asks for sign
A grave marker at the county’s former poor farm has the property owner worried. The marker reads “Negro Boy,” and poor farm owner Nancy Marr is worried that current racial tension might lead to someone getting hurt.
Marion split on tax increase
Marion hasn’t voted in favor of a mill levy increase since 2014, and councilman Ruth Herbel doesn’t want to start now. “With what everybody’s been through this year, it’s been really hard,” Herbel said at Monday’s council meeting. “If we increase it any amount, they’re going to look at us in a bad way.”
County appoints grant panel
Members of a county task force seeking a $2.39 million state grant to defray health and economic expenses caused by COVID-19 were appointed July 8. County commissioners appointed emergency manager Randy Frank, health administrator Diedre Serene, county treasurer Jeanine Bateman, Marion school superintendent Aaron Homburg, Tabor College representative Rusty Allen, information technologist contractor Lloyd Davies, and Hillsboro economic development director Anthony Roy.
Staying in touch . . . by touching only glass
Margie Schwartz presses her ear tight to her smartphone in an effort to hear her husband, Richard, through the glass. “What was that you said?” she asks as she leans against a window pane Monday at St. Luke Living Center.
Tax credits to help pay for mammography upgrade
St. Luke Hospital will install new three-dimensional mammography technology that can detect cancer up to 65% better and will sell tax credits to recover the cost. The $101,724 in credits, approved last week by the state, will allow donors to write up to 70% of their donation off their total state taxes due instead of just deducting the donation from their income.
A simple but profound call to action
At some point in any protracted discussion there comes a time when opinions no longer are going to change. Everyone has entrenched beliefs, and all the evidence in the world won’t alter their opinions. It’s becoming painfully obvious we’ve reached that point with COVID-19. Those so embroiled in the politics of denial and misplaced concerns about personal liberty no longer can see evidence like the rapidly soaring number of cases in Marion County since government refused to act to protect its citizens.
To vote or not to vote, that is the question
Conversing the other day with one of the candidates for a county office, we dared to ask a question we’ve wondered about for many years. Why do we need to elect so many different officials in the courthouse? Many of those we elect have little discretion about how their jobs are done.
ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:
Ramona is popping!
The dress code
Un-egg-spected donor gives 20 dozen at senior center
What do you do when receiving a donation of nearly 250 eggs? That question already was answered for Janet Bryant when Marion Senior Center received 20 dozen eggs from an unknown woman she could refer to only as “Egg Lady.”
A cool place: Hub fosters fun, safety
The Hub may have made some changes, but summer director Megan Crosley wants Peabody’s youth to know they have a place where they are safe and welcome. “I still want them to have a good time here,” she said.
Commodities dates change
The date government commodities arrive has been changed to July 22. To qualify, individuals must have less than $1,383 in monthly income. For each additional household member with up to four, add $485 to the maximum income. July 22 Burns — Community center, morning. Durham — Picnic shelter, 4 to 5 p.m. Goessel — Mennonite church, 5 p.m. Lincolnville — Community center, 11 a.m. to noon. Peabody — Senior center, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Pilsen — 11:30 a.m. Ramona — Community center, morning. Tampa — Senior center, 3 to 4 p.m. July 23 Florence — Senior Center, 9 to 11 a.m. Marion — Curbside at the front door of the senior center, 4 to 6 p.m. July 24 Hillsboro — Main St. Ministries, 9 a.m. to noon. (Also for Lehigh residents.) Unable to pick up Call county department on aging at (60) 382-3580.
Senior center menus
SERMON ON WEEK:
Eliminating our ugly thoughts about others
140 years ago
County schools to jointly decide fall plans
Marion County school districts will meet Monday about using similar strategies for fall classes, but Hillsboro already has for getting back to in-person classes. The district’s plan is tentative, but superintendent Max Heinrichs believes it’s a way to get everyone back in classes instead of limited to interacting on computers.
Music a heavy influence on Goessel co-valedictorian
When co-valedictorian Elizabeth Alderfer leaves Goessel for Bethel College, she will be looking forward to Bethel’s intimacy. “It’s a small school, so like Goessel you can be involved in everything,” she said.
Cheerleaders hoping to clean up again
A line of cars sat idling in the heat as the Peabody cheer team soaped, scrubbed, and sprayed cars and each other during the team’s annual fundraiser Saturday. The girls have set their sights on defending their state title in Topeka this year. Money raised by washing cars will help take care of the team’s expenses.
Hillsboro purchases new bus
Hillsboro school district will have a new member of its fleet of buses come fall after approval of a 2021 Bluebird bus at Monday’s board of education meeting. The new 65-passenger bus includes air conditioning and will cost $107,325.
College awards and honors
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