• 4 new cases lead Marion to require masks after county again delays

    Hours after county commissioners once again delayed action on requiring face masks, four new COVID-19 cases were reported in Marion County. Mere moments later, the City of Marion stepped into the breach, bypassed the county, and involked its own mask requirement, virtually identical to what the county had sent back for a rewrite hours earlier. In the 25 days since the county initially used newly legislated powers to overturn Governor Laura Kelly’s statewide order for masks, the county's total number of COVID-19 cases has increased almost fivefold — from 11 to 49.

  • Both lakes under algae warnings

    Marion Reservoir and Marion County Lake are now under blue-green algae warnings. The lake has been subject to a warning for several weeks, but Thursday's announcement from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment elevated what had been only a watch at the reservoir to a warning. Statewide, six other lakes, including Cheney Reservoir, are under warnings. Eleven others, including Milford Lake, are under less severe watches. Watches on five other bodies of water were lifted Thursday.


    Thrift shop open Saturday only, for now

    • 102-year-old survives her 2nd pandemic

      A 102-year-old rural Tampa woman has survived two deadly pandemics: Spanish Flu, which struck Kansas in 1918 and COVID-19, which hospitalized her for six days. Frieda Bentz, the second-oldest COVID patient in the state, was too young when Spanish Flu hit to have any memory of it, but family history showed its severity.

    • County unmoved by soaring virus totals

      UPDATE: See breaking news for latest COVID-19 stories published after print deadline. By PHYLLIS ZORN Staff writer A new COVID-19 case reported Tuesday evening marked a threefold spike since county commissioners overturned a state mandate to wear masks in public where social distancing is not possible.

    • Tabor to isolate students at Salem

      A COVID-19 quarantine and isolation center for Tabor College students will be set up in the old Hillsboro hospital, 701 S. Main St., before students arrive Aug. 5. Hillsboro’s city council voted Tuesday to approve a memorandum of understanding needed by Tabor College to work with Mennonite Disaster Services in getting the isolation and quarantine center set up before classes open next month.

    • Cops avoid sending people to infected jail

      After an employee of the jail complex tested positive for COVID-19, Marion County jail once again is jailing only suspects whom law enforcement officers think must be jailed by state law requirements. But the jail and health officials apparently have not reached out to those who may have been processed through the jail while an employee at the complex was contagious.

    • Schools hope delay stands

      UPDATE: On a deadlocked vote Wednesday, the state board of education failed to endorse and thereby invalidated the governor's order to delay the start of classes. By ALEXANDER SIMONE Staff writer Marion County school districts are just a month from their planned start to fall classes, but that date is in jeopardy after Monday’s order by Governor Laura Kelly to postpone classes until Sept. 8.


    • Grocers cope with masks, shortages

      Most of the staff and employees of area grocers are choosing to wear masks amid a surge in the number of cases in the county. Area businesses say they are trying to make their customers feel comfortable even as COVID-19 continues to stifle their supply lines keep and some goods off their shelves.

    • Marion looks to shift rec costs

      Marion city officials will meet with school officials to see whether the balance of who pays what share of recreation and pool costs can be changed. Unlike Hillsboro and Peabody, which have recreation commissions that cover their entire school districts, Marion has only a city rec program but shares some costs with the school district.

    • Merry-go-round ride cut short by injury

      A 12-year-old girl was taken to Newton Medical Center after falling off a merry-go-round at 8:30 p.m. Monday in Florence. The unidentified victim probably will need surgery, county ambulance director Travis Parmley said.

    • Will Alexa know who stole her?

      An Amazon Echo worth $120 remains missing after being reported stolen from an elderly Hillsboro woman’s home between July 5 and July 10. But Hillsboro assistant police chief Jessey Hiebert says it can be traced with the proper information.

    • Herington paper merges with Chapman paper

      The Herington Times has merged with the Dickinson County News-Times of Chapman. The move is “more economically feasible,” said David Parker, who owns the publications along with the Clay Center Dispatch and the Council Grove Republican.

    • Project's founders make big plans for small town

      A pandemic may have postponed its debut, but Flint Hills Counterpoint’s founders are using the time to build their dream. Susan Mayo has big plans for 14 acres north of Peabody even if she is disappointed by the forced cancellation of a lineup of summer events.


    • Repair bills hidden cost of bad roads

      The poor condition of Marion County’s roads are hitting drivers with a hidden pothole tax of repair bills. Deep ruts and lack of crown damage a car’s tires and suspension while loose gravel can shatter windshields.

    • Mustang rides an anticipated treat for family

      Rosella Suderman and her now-deceased husband, Orval, purchased their Ford Mustang more than half a century ago, and bringing it out now to drive in notable events is a treat. One of those events was Hillsboro’s monthly cruise Saturday along Main St. The Sudermans had several family members piled in the vehicle, with several others waiting their turn beside Grandma Rosella.




    • Seasoned county employees vie for treasurer

      Two candidates are squaring off in this year’s race for the Republican nomination for county treasurer. One, Susan Berg, is a nine-year employee of the office and has been vehicle supervisor for the past six years.

    • Requests for absentee ballots explode

      Voters getting a jump on the Aug. 4 primary have swamped Marion County clerks with a record 1,032 requests for absentee ballots. That number represents a surge of more than 706% from 128 ballots issued in the 2018 primary and a 116% jump from 478 mail-in ballots given in the 2016 general election.


    • Playing a game we almost always lose

      On shadowy urban street corners, scammers, con artists, flimflam folks, and supposed street magicians call it Find the Queen, Three-card Monte, or an old-fashioned shell game. Those of us in more bucolic settings have a different name for it: government budget hearings. Instead of a familiar cry of “Play ball!” officials typically start each year’s game by invoking some sort of a plea about mill levies.

    • Misinformation unmasked

      If it weren’t so tragic, the stupidity of our county commissioners would be humorous. No, wearing masks isn’t a personal choice. You don’t wear masks to protect yourself. You wear masks to protect others.

    • Recycling an old idea

      A tip of the hat — or, more appropriate, a smart military salute — this week to Dan Holub, one of best and most colorful former county commissioners. In his years of public service, Dan’s staunch conservative exterior often gave way to an inner liberal on several issues, including recycling, which was among his major causes as a commissioner.


      Hens on maternity leave

      Corrections and clarifications


    • Bond with dogs gives her strength

      Ruth Creamer of Ramona has owned several dogs in the 20 years since her husband died. Her three dogs are what keep her motivated every day now that she’s 90 years old. “They’re all that keeps me going,” she said. “If I didn’t have them waiting here at home, I don’t suppose I’d even go home.”

    • Museum to offer bierocks

      Goessel’s Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum will serve carry-out bierock meals for area-residents from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 1. Cost is by donation. New Year’s Cookies will be available by the half dozen with a suggested donation of $5, per half-dozen or $10 per dozen.

    • Kids can read to therapy dogs

      Children in first through fifth grades will have a chance to meet and read to stress therapy dogs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at Peabody Township Library. Reservations are being accepted at ptl.childrens.library@gmail.com and (620) 983-2502.

    • Labor Day canceled

      Florence’s 2020 Labor Day celebration will be canceled because of COVID-19. Committee members hope the event will be back in 2021.

    • Peabody cruise Sunday

      Peabody’s next monthly cruise will be Sunday. U Knead It Bakery will serve breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, and pie.

    • Senior center to celebrate cowboys

      Marion Senior Center will observe National Day of the Cowboy this Friday. The center is encouraging patrons to dress in cowboy attire. County treasurer candidate Susan Berg spoke to seniors last week. Other candidates can schedule a time to speak by calling (620) 382-2942.

    • Senior center menus


      Couple to celebrate golden anniversary

      Exploring the origin of separation of church and state

      10, 25, 40, 55, 70, 100, 140 years ago

      Picture this: A time before pictures


    • College degrees and honors

    • Centre, Marion students honored for skills with ag

      Centre student Jensen Riffel and Marion students Peyton Ensey and Cassandra Meyer received Kansas Agriculture Skills and Competencies certificates last week from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Riffel, who graduated from Centre this spring as a state scholar, also has received the highest state FFA degree and a national FFA scholarship. He will attend Ottawa University and play football.

    • Warrior co-valedictorian blends love of sports, math

      Matthew Christensen has a month until his freshman year of college starts, but the Marion co-valedictorian’s interest in numbers started well before he had to choose a major. “I’ve really been good at math my whole life, ever since elementary,” he said. “My dream job is to be a sports statistician, so that’s one way I can tie my love for math and sports together.”

    • Sacrifice an important lesson for Trojan co-valedictorian

      As Hillsboro’s class president and co-valedictorian, senior Callie Arnold learned a valuable lesson this year in how many commitments is too many. “I learned, especially this year, that I can’t do it all,” she said. “There are some things you just have to relinquish for your own personal health.”

    • Team wins Hesston tourney

      Marion County’s 18 and under travel baseball team went undefeated Saturday and Sunday to win a Central Kansas League tournament in Hesston. The team was 5-0 in the tournament and came from behind to win in four of its five games.


    • School redesigns an opportunity for reflection

      When Peabody-Burns school district was named one of Kansas’ 19 Gemini II districts, its leadership saw an opportunity to improve collaboration with the Peabody community and beyond, elementary principal Kathy Preheim said. “We received help coming up with a vision from the state department, and some of the steps to find out what our students and parents want,” she said.

    • Indian Guide Terrace's stolen outpost

      Jonathan Richstatter was baffled after being smoked by thieves. The maintenance employee for Indian Guide Terrace arrived Thursday morning to find one of the smoker outposts for the apartments had been stolen.

    • More accidents happen on paved county roads

      Marion County doesn’t salt treat its paved roads during winter, a practice that may boost the accident rate on routes where more people drive and speed limits are higher. Indigo Rd. from US-50 to 160th Rd. has seen the highest number of accidents over the last two years.

    • Residents given no warning of impending flood

      Two homeowners who had to be rescued from their roof by their son and one who sat out high water overnight in his SUV were unaware that a decision to release water from Marion Reservoir would force them to grab what they could run. County residents received no warning about the move by the Army Corps of Engineers other than a post on the county clerk’s Facebook page.

    • Family, friends rally to help flood victims

      GoFundMe account raises money for Florence area family who lost everything By ALEXANDER SIMONE Staff writer When July 4 flooding destroyed Loretta Looney’s home the community rallied around her.


    • Commission gets windy - again

      What seemed to be a rare moment of agreement among county commissioners over wind farms proved as fickle as a flittering breeze Monday. A week after commissioner Randy Dallke raised concerns about how to proceed with future wind farms, commissioner Dianne Novak used the opportunity to heap sometimes saccharine praise on him.

    • Trash station may hike taxes, raid road fund

      Which will county voters hate least: a new sales tax or borrowing money set aside for resurfacing paved roads? Or are they even convinced the county needs what either would pay for: a new waste transfer station, total cost of which could swell to $2.5 million, almost as much as the county paid for its jail?

    • Wind farm case dismissed; construction not begun

      Only a week after 70 opponents of a wind farm filed a lawsuit against Marion County Planning Commission over approving a conditional use permit, they dismissed the case. The plaintiffs dismissed the suit July 17 before the planning commission filed an answer.

    • American Legion Auxiliary to serve meal

      The farmers market in Peabody will have fresh faces serving the $5 meal Monday. Peabody’s American Legion Auxiliary will be serving chicken salad on a croissant with a dill pickle spear, as well as the usual chips and a dessert. Proceeds will benefit veteran and community projects.

    • County sends $157,583 a year to area agencies

      Marion County spends $157,583 a year supporting organizations that serve people in multiple counties. In some cases, the amount the county pays aligns with the number of county residents served.

    • Bait shop could be a boon

      Since 2017, when former county lake superintendent Steve Hudson resigned his position, the lake has had no bait shop. Anglers have had to go elsewhere. A bait vending machine installed in 2018 sits empty.


    • Man sees red when picking prized vehicles

      Wayne Ollenburger, 82, of Hillsboro has added another bright red car to his collection of antique vehicles. He owns a 1971 Chevy Cheyenne half-ton pickup and a 1980 Corvette.

    • Safety is a concern for car dealerships

      Car dealerships have their own priorities before a used vehicle rolls off the lot, said Randy Hagen, co-owner and office manager at Hillsboro Ford. “Most customers are fairly knowledgeable, but we just don’t want to see them have any problems,” he said. “There’s always something with the possibility of happening.”

    • Classic cars, trucks to be on display

      Classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles will make the monthly trek Sunday for the Peabody Cruise from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Walnut St. Businesses and points of interest will include Grab-N-Go Hotdogs, Porcupine Tea Company and Mercantile, Peabody American Legion, and the Peabody Historical Museum.


    • Walden Duerksen

      Services for retired farmer and Hesston Corp. worker WaldenDuerksen, 91, who died Thursday at Bethesda Home in Goessel, were to have been this morning at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton. Born Jan. 21, 1928, at Goessel to Gustav and Emma (Schmidt) Duerksen, he married Susan Schmidt on Oct. 24, 1950, at the church.

    • Alice Funk

      Services for Alice Ruby (Goerzen) Funk, who died July 17 at Bethesda Home in Goessel, will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton. Visitation will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the church.

    • Virginia Heerey

      Services for Virginia Heerey, 84, who died Monday, will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at Eastmoor United Methodist Church, Marion. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Yazel-Megli-Zeiner Funeral Home, Marion.

    • Lloyd Ratzloff

      Services for Lloyd Ray Ratzloff, 68, who died Sunday at his residence in Lehigh, will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Hillsboro United Methodist Church. Born Jan. 2, 1951, in Florence to Perry and Irene (Ducommun) Ratzloff, he married Debbie Friesen on Nov. 24, 1979, in Hillsboro.

    • Tony Schafers

      Mass for Tony Schafers, 89, who died Monday, will be celebrated 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mark Catholic Church / Holy Family Parish, Marion. Rosary will be recited at 10:30 a.m. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Yazel-Megli-Zeiner Funeral Home, Marion. A complete life sketch will be published next week.


      Roger Frans

      'Pops' Riebold

      Gary Strotkamp

      Millicent Vinduska



    • Wait list limits effectiveness of opportunity zone

      Applicants to a state program that helps pay off student loan debt may be in for a wait of up to seven years. The Rural Opportunity Zone program is meant to encourage young people to move to rural counties by collaborating with the state to help pay down college debt, said Patty Clark, deputy secretary for Kansas Department of Commerce.

    • Senator to visit county

      U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) will be in Marion County from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday for a town hall meeting at Hillsboro American Legion Post 366. The first 30 minutes will cover events in Congress, followed by 30 minutes for audience questions.


      Calendar of events

      Peabody Senior Center menu


    • Marion, Peabody-Burns participate in FFA conference

      Marion and Peabody-Burns FFA made strong showings at the state conference for chapter leaders July 1 to 3 at Rock Springs Ranch. Participants from Marion included Peyton Ensey, Karlee Fetrow, Gracie Mackie, Cassie Meyer, Mickelly Soyez, and adviser Mark Meyer.

    • New vaccines required

      State regulations require two new vaccines for school-age children enrolling for the 2019-2020 school year. Students entering kindergarten and first grade need two doses of hepatitis A vaccine.

    • Peabody-Burns school sets enrollment dates

      Peabody-Burns school district enrollment will be open August 7 and 8 at the high school. August 7 enrollment will be 8 a.m. to noon, 1 to 5 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m. August 8 it will be open 8 a.m. to noon.


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