Vol. 147 , No. 19
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Peabody, KS 66866
UPDATED AFTER PRINT DEADLINE
COVID update: Infection rate skids to lowest in a month
As health care workers and older residents begin receiving vaccinations, new coronavirus infections in Marion County are beginning to decline. The county reported just five new cases Monday, three days after reporting eight on Friday and 18 in a delayed report Thursday. The seven-day total of new cases dipped to 33, lowest since Dec. 27. The 14-day total fell to 125, lowest since Jan. 7.
Probe of mail theft ring confirmed
The U.S. Postal Service confirmed this week that Marion post office is being investigated after allegations that mail has been stolen and credit card statements opened. Greg Godfrey, with the Office of Inspector General, confirmed the investigation, which was disclosed after a county lake resident told the newspaper that a postal employee had allowed him and others access to the office with the intent of stealing packages or credit card numbers from mail.
Sheriff blames combative commission
Before talking to county commissioners about a $114,800 bill for installation of new security cameras in the jail, sheriff Rob Craft read an unhappy prepared statement explaining why he doesn’t like to attend weekly meetings. “Before I begin I’m going to preface this with an apology to some of the newer commissioners,” Craft said. “Why did I choose to limit my participation in the county commission meetings? In the past several years, the commission meetings have all become unprofessional and confrontational of those in attendance and those not in attendance.”
Drug dog earns her keep in 1st year
In her first year as a drug dog, Blue’s nose for illegal substances already has led to multiple drug busts for Marion’s city police. A few times, an arrest would not have been possible without her, said officer Aaron Slater, who serves as Blue’s handler for the department’s K-9 unit.
Charges likely after shivering toddler found in DUI arrest
A Marquette man likely will face aggravated child endangerment charges after police found his 2-year-old son in the back of a truck he had been driving erratically on US-56. Michael Weaver, 27, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, and transporting an open container of alcohol.
County offers 1st COVID shot clinic
The county’s first COVID-19 vaccination clinic, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the county fairgrounds, provided vaccines to 170 people aged 84 and older. At the clinic, people went through the registration process, got their shots, then sat for 15 minutes of observation before being allowed to leave. The 170 were selected by age, from lists compiled by clinics, hospitals, and the health department. All had called to say they wanted vaccinations.
Injured woman, dogs both in need of help
A Wichita attorney has filed to become temporary guardian for a 90-year-old Marion woman injured during a crash with a semi on US-56. Nearly three weeks after the accident, Ruth Cramer is still at Via Christi — St. Francis Hospital in Wichita.
Hunting forms 20-year bond for outfitters
According to Andy Hansen of Marion, one of the best-kept secrets is that the best hunting resources in Kansas are in Marion, Chase, and Dickinson counties. Perhaps another well-kept secret is that Marion has a hunting outfitter that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Crews clean up derelict property
After more than a year of wrangling with its owner, the city of Marion cleaned up a nuisance property Wednesday under the supervision of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Property owner Kevin Geren, 702 S. Cedar, yelled and cussed at the people who came to clean up the premises, then later joined them in the cleanup.
More than just a dirty business
Ditch digging has long been be considered at the bottom of the list when it comes to job desirability, but Charlie Holub has turned it into a successful business that uses modern equipment. Together with a partner, Gene Chizek, he started the company 25 years ago. He became sole owner in 2015.
Owners to seek $250,000 grant
An Olathe couple who purchased a building at 301 E. Main St. Oct. 30 will apply for a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant intended for downtown commercial rehabilitation projects. Daryl and Megan Jones, who bought the building that formerly housed MacGregors, estimate needed renovation will cost $345,000.
Property for ambulance station to be purchased
Although land to build an ambulance station will be purchased near the Hillsboro police department, many questions remain to be answered as commissioners and Hillsboro authorities iron out plans. The decision to buy land near the department building on Ash St. capped a year of negotiation between Hillsboro and county officials over where to move the Hillsboro station.
Brazen shoplifter fills two bags
Hillsboro police are looking to identify a white female who entered Hillsboro Dollar General store Saturday morning and helped herself to two duffle bags, then filled them with assorted items. The items taken included an electric toothbrush, a pair of sweatpants, three shirts, and a pair of shorts.
Steam engine may be family heirloom
When Glenn Litke of rural Hillsboro purchased an Avery Return Flue Steam Engine at an estate auction in Hutchinson in 1987, he wasn’t thinking that it might be the same one owned by his great-grandfather J.W. Buller in 1910. His great-grandfather drove it 150 miles cross-country from Hillsboro to Osborne County (approximately 1½ miles per hour) to thresh wheat.
Designer was Civil War prisoner
Robert Avery and his brother, Cyrus, designed the Avery Return Flue Steam Engine. Robert Avery spent time in the infamous Andersonville
Confederate Prison after he was captured as a Union soldier in the Civil War.
67 new cases in 7 days; 2 care homes are 'clusters'
Reports of at least 67 new cases of COVID-19 in Marion County since Wednesday provided stark evidence Monday that the county’s 10-month pandemic was showing no signs of lessening. The county was one of only seven statewide exhibiting an increase in cases last week. Bethesda Home in Goessel and Parkside Homes in Hillsboro were among 28 long-term care facilities in the state labeled as COVID-19 clusters.
Shutdowns squeeze inventory at dealership
Shoppers in the market for a new car this year may need to wait several months if they have their heart set on a popular model. Inventory is still tight months after assembly plants were closed in response to COVID-19, said Terry Hagen, owner and sales manager at Hillsboro Ford.
Lack of accessible parking questioned
Despite a recent streetscape that put curb cuts in place along Main St. along with benches and waste receptacles, one Marion resident says her husband cannot get into downtown businesses because there are no designated handicapped parking stalls. Kari Newell’s husband, Ryan, lost both legs in 2008 when he was injured in Afghanistan.
Services were Saturday for Ruby Dalke, 82, who died Jan. 19 at Salem Home in Hillsboro. She was born Nov. 17, 1938, at Wolf Point, Montana, to Pete and Katherine (Loewen) Koslowsky.
A viewing for Charles “Chuck” G. Goentzel, 71, who died
Jan. 24 in Wichita after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, will be 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at Jost Funeral Home, Hillsboro. He was born Oct. 29, 1949.
Services will be scheduled later for Ruth Lemoine Heim, who died Dec. 28 at Good Samaritan nursing home in Grants, New Mexico. She was born Dec. 3, 1931, in Marion, to Harry H. and Mabel I. (Scharenberg) Byram.
Services for Drusilla “Dru” Klassen, 90, who died Jan. 22, at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro, will be postponed until this spring because of COVID-19. Born March 20, 1930, to Paul and Lois (Wylie) Parrish in Wichita, she married Arthur Klassen Oct. 25, 1948, in Marion.
Services for Lola Unruh, 60, who died Jan. 25 at Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Ebenfeld M.B. Church, rural Hillsboro. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Graveside service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Ebenfeld Church cemetery.
Services for Frank Woodruff, 87, Peabody, who died Jan. 26 at Wesley Medical Center, will be held at a later date. Frank was born March 25, 1933, in New London, Connecticut, to Frank and Eva Woodruff.
Civil division cases
County jail arrests and bookings
Criminal sivision cases
Police activity reports
Traffic division cases
Taxing all credulity
We no longer have to look to Nancy Pelosi and Congress to find tax-and-spend liberals. Marion County isn’t quite up to the level the late Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen lamented in saying, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” But we’re getting close. Planning for a nearly half-million-dollar ambulance garage and dorm space for two attendants in Hillsboro is as much over the top as was the $2 million spent in Marion to build a bus stop for county garbage.
Not only are postal authorities investigating whether someone — perhaps an employee — orchestrated mail thefts in Marion. We also have to worry as well about a much less serious but still concerning matter: the Case of the Missing Newspapers — specifically, copies of last week’s Marion County Record destined for subscribers on Marion’s Rural Route 3.
ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:
Hungry for hugs
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Cards to honor 90th birthday
The family of Bea Kelsey requests a card shower to celebrate her 90th birthday on Feb. 2. Cards may be sent to: Bea Kelsey, 1518 Victory Lane, Marion, KS 66861.
Senior center elects officers
The center had its first Senior Center Day in nearly a year Jan. 20. Rhonda Brenzikofer submitted officer nominations. Clarita Caudill was elected president; Janice Westerman, vice president; Becky Hogue, secretary; and Norma Kline, treasurer. The center was decorated for Christmas by Becky Hogue. The center had its own Christmas tree. This month, Hogue has decorated the center with many snowmen.
Red Cross plans area blood drives
The Red Cross has several opportunities for area blood drives in February Goessel — From 1 to 6 p.m., Feb. 8, at Mennonite Church, 109 S. Church, St.
Senior center menus
140 years ago
COVID disrupts area tournaments
Marion County basketball’s ongoing struggle with COVID-19 hit the court last week as quarantined players and safety concerns altered area tournaments and canceled games. Hillsboro’s Trojan Classic and Centre’s Cougar Classic altered their first- through seventh-place format to have teams play a set three opponents for both boys and girls teams.
Hillsboro grapplers pin down 6th place, Marion 11th at Eureka Invitational
Hillsboro and Marion High School wrestling teams both competed Saturday at the Eureka Invitational. Hillsboro finished sixth out of 20 competing schools with 84.5 points while Marion came in 11th with 58.5.
College degrees and honors
County puts temporary stop to recycling efforts
The county is ceasing recycling for now because the places to take recyclable materials charge too much money or refuse the materials. County commissioners voted Monday that as of Feb. 10, recycling bins will be removed and recyclables will be taken to the landfill at El Dorado instead of a recycling center at Fort Riley.
Former teacher charged with violating a restraining order
A former Peabody-Burns teacher convicted a year and a half ago of two counts of sexual exploitation of a child was charged Monday with violation of a restraining order and criminal trespass. County attorney Joel Ensey said the Dec. 11 incident from which charges against Christopher R. Young, 47, Peabody, arose took place in Peabody, but the victim was not one of the victims of the earlier offenses.
City could see valve shut-off in March
Peabody’s water valves are sticking, which might require several valves being shut off in March to address the problem, public works superintendant Lucas Larsen said at Monday’s city council meeting. “We either shut that half of town off again and replace it, or do a quick fix for now to get it filled in,” he said.
High School student's tree mapping project valuable for reservoir staff
Engineers at Marion Reservoir have an accurate picture of the damage this past summer’s record flooding inflicted on more than 200 trees at Marion Reservoir thanks to the determination of a high school student. Ava Weisbeck, 18, a fan of science and the outdoors, asked to shadow assistant lake manager Kevin McCoy as a part of a Career Connections class at Hillsboro High School.
Cleaning away coughs and colds
Hannah Bourbon of Peabody is always looking for ways to help people in her community. She was a big supporter of the Angel Tree. Her latest endeavor was to organize the washing of coats and jackets for school children at no charge.
FFA member gets grant for dog-training business
Caleb Laney of Peabody-Burns High has received a $500 grant from the National FFA Foundation to develop his student agricultural experience. He was one of 20 Kansas FFA members to receive the grant.
County likely to build Hillsboro ambulance station
A planned new ambulance station in Hillsboro is likely to be built much earlier than the five-year target set by the city of Hillsboro. County commissioners decided they weren’t interested in waiting for Hillsboro’s offer to build, in five years after Hillsboro has paid off bonds, a public safety center that would include housing for two ambulances and sleeping rooms for on-duty emergency medical services personnel.
Real ID sometimes a real hassle
Changes in federal and state laws are forcing a Goessel woman to change her legal name to renew her driver’s license. Joyce Pankratz filed a petition in district court to change her middle name. The problem is that her birth certificate shows an incorrect spelling of her middle name.
Commission takes first step toward extension district
County commissioners Monday set the wheels in motion for Marion and Dickinson Counties to begin forming an extension district when they approved a resolution of intention to merge the two districts into one district. Extension agent Ricky Roberts and Chris Onstad of the Kansas State University’s Northeast Regional Office talked to commissioners about the benefits of banding with Dickinson County and the steps that must be gone through in order to forge a district.
New playground equipment in store at county lake
New playground equipment will be installed at Marion County Park and Lake this spring. Park and Lake director Isaac Hett said Marion Advancement Campaign raised $8,000 to buy a climber, swings, a swing bench, and a 5-foot slide for a new playground.
Owner of beloved cafe remembered
Dee Alvarez’s family said they hope the restaurant their mother and father began in 1970 will continue in the future. Dee Alvarez, who opened Al’s Café in Lost Springs with her husband, Manuel, in 1970, died Saturday at Herington Municipal Hospital after tripping over a rubber mat and falling at the café.
Recycled oil keeps auto repair shop warm
A mechanic who does frequent oil changes can collect a lot of used motor oil. Dave Leith of Leith Service in Marion recycles the oil to heat his business.
Mind speed on slick streets to stay safe
Slick, icy, and snow-packed roads contributed to a seasonal increase in accidents in Marion County. Kansas Department of Transportation engineer Joe Palic said KDOT crews in the county have been working to stay on top of highways and keep roads safely drivable during bad weather.
Services for Peabody resident Betty Darlene Manka, 74, who died Jan. 18, were Saturday. Burial will be at a later date in Peabody Cemetery. Born Nov. 26, 1945, to Frederick and Blanche Scott McAlister in Burlington, she lived there and in Lebo most of her life.
Funeral services for Delora “Dee” Alvarez, 79, who died Saturday at Herington Municipal Hospital, will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church of Pilsen. She was owner and manager of Al’s Café in Lost Springs.
Graveside services for Lorraine Jeanette Grimm, who died Jan. 17 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Peabody.
Civil division cases
County jail arrests and bookings
Criminal division cases
Domestic division cases
Police activity reports
Traffic division cases
Taking a MAD look at PILOTs and other loopholes
Loopholes aren’t just for billionaires anymore. They’re also a mainstay of local government and a key reason why Big Government, even at the local level, pads its payroll with so many employees whose main jobs, like the jobs of billionaires’ minions, are to find loopholes. Years ago, I used to make fun of the rural Wisconsin community in which I lived. My township, which surrounded a small incorporated village, decided to incorporate in its own right and create both a police force and a municipal court.
Corrections and clarifications
Calendar of events
SCHOOL AND SPORTS
Peabody-Burns boys 4th at tourney
Despite opening last week with a promising win, Peabody-Burns boys fell in their final two games at Centre’s Cougar Classic, cementing a fourth-place finish. The Warriors lost 55-22 to Centre on Saturday, and coach Bob Kyle said the game came down to execution.
Developmental screening available
Developmental screening is available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 11 in Peabody for children up to 5 years old. The process usually takes at least an hour to complete and includes testing of cognitive, motor, speech, vision, hearing, social and emotional development.
County spelling bee will be Feb. 5
The county spelling bee will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 5 in the main gymnasium at Centre schools. The public is invited to attend. Participants from Centre are Judah Richard and Spencer Hancock of Centre Elementary School; Olivia Carlson and Kaitlyn Bina of Centre Junior High School.
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