Doing this job for my five regular readers can be a fast paced way to make living. I kid you not — some weeks I can hardly keep up. This week is no exception. I have several ideas about how you should spend some of your time and I want to share some things I noticed recently. Gosh, where to start?
Coming up tomorrow night (Thursday) is an important community meeting at 7 p.m. hosted by USD 398 at the First Baptist Church in Peabody. Residents of both Peabody and Burns, patrons, and taxpayers are encouraged to attend. Superintendent Rex Watson will present a “state of the school district” message you all should hear. Rumors about the future of education in Peabody and Burns are varied and plentiful these days. Perhaps a community meeting with straight talk from someone who is the go-to guy for answers will be helpful. One can only hope.
No doubt about it, the way we are going to educate students in our district, indeed in most Kansas school districts, is about to change. To be in-the-know, you should attend this meeting. You don’t need to have kids in school to care about what happens in education. Local schools issues will influence your taxes, the value of your property, population changes to your communities, and quality of life issues that mean something to you. Go! You need to hear what Mr. Watson has to say. You need to know what your school board members are up against, and you need to understand what alternatives might be out there for the Peabody-Burns district. Just go.
Then on Saturday you’ll have a chance to get up early and attend the legislative coffee hosted by Legacy Park and Peabody Economic Development from 8:30 to 11:30 at Legacy Park (use the Locust Street entrance). Rep. Bob Brookens will be on hand to explain legislative issues and choices. Sen. Jim Barnett was invited, but will not be able to attend. A question and answer period will follow Brookens’ talk.
And while we are on the topic of community concerns, I want to tell you how amazing this town has been with financial support during the past year. Peabody Main Street had its umpteenth benefit auction Saturday night and raised just a smidge under $10,000.
The benefit auction is just one of many events that have produced generous donations. Peabody Community Foundation generated nearly $60,000 to receive matching funds for its Impact Fund campaign. Imagine that! The Christmas light committee was able to replace all the light bulbs destroyed by hail in June. Peabody Quilt Project ladies raised hundreds for playground equipment and Partners of Peabody Parks raised hundreds more for plants, trees, signs, landscaping, and maintenance in Peabody’s public areas.
Grants and donations helped renovate the Ann Potter room in Peabody Township Library after groundwater seepage created a mold problem. The entire area has been restored. Peabody Senior Center received donations of furniture, cash, and volunteer labor to upgrade the interior of the center and make remodeling changes. Community volunteers logged in hundreds of hours to sweep the streets and gutters, repaint and repair benches and trash receptacles, and fill planters and flower beds all over town.
The Sleepy Creek Concert Series, Operation Celebration, church dinners and bazaars, the Christmas promotion, and benefits for individuals and families in need have generated tens of thousands of dollars! The FFA work auction, the fundraisers for school trips, events, scholarships, and projects, the Senior Citizens’ pepper nut extravaganza, the Craig White Fishing Tournament, and the American Legion Avenue of Flags all have benefitted from generous Peabody residents, alumni, and friends.
I expect I haven’t remembered every effort, but you get the idea. I think it is outstanding that in this economy one small town can do what we have done. Community support is alive and well. Pat yourselves on the back — you deserve it. Thanks to all of you who make a difference.
— Susan Marshall