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For the Record, a few odd ends

Bless the U.S. Postal Service. When it’s not raising rates, it’s losing mail — except, of course, junk mail, which seems to be the true priority mail these days.

Last week’s paper, chock full of really interesting reading about Tampa, seemed to arrive on time everywhere except — you guessed it — Tampa.

Best as we can determine, at least part of one of the Postal Service’s fancy, computer-ready containers destined for Tampa was misrouted by computers to somewhere where ZIP codes don’t shine.

Rest assured that hard-working local letter carriers — and our hard-working mailing crew — had nothing to do with it, although all have tried valiantly to rectify the situation.

The problem is, mail from Marion to Tampa often makes stops in Topeka, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina en route. Were anyone else to follow such a path he might be accused of doing a bit of now-legal free sampling at local libation emporiums. For the Postal Service, it’s considered walking the straight and narrow.

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What we have here is a failure to communicate — or, at least, a failure to figure out exactly who screwed up what regarding police radios working in Florence and being controlled from the new jail.

Ignored in all the talk of zoning variances and conditional use permits (could anything be duller?) seems to be a solution that 51 other counties in Kansas (including the adjacent counties of Butler, Chase, Dickinson, and Saline) have adopted: moving all or part of their emergency communications to the state-of-the-art Kansas Statewide Interoperable Communication System.

The state maintains a very high quality radio system that already reaches every corner of the county. The biggest drawback appears to be affording new walkie-talkies for every volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant in the county. What other counties seem to have done is to leave personal radios like those on the old system and migrate official vehicles to the new one, which also reduces the need for such things as communications trailers.

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The Meyer family has published its newest addition: Josephine Abigail (Josie for short) joins brother Henry, 7, and sister Maggie, 4, in Livermore, Calif., where dad, Nate, is deputy program director at Sandia National Laboratories and mom, Elizabeth, is a management consultant with ZS Associates.

Exhibiting strong journalistic sensibilities, Josie arrived considerably before deadline, but her 21 column inches still tipped the scale at 9 pounds and nearly 9 ounces. Her first trip to Marion’s Central Park is tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving.

We report this not merely out of grandfatherly pride but also as a reader service: Beware great-grandmothers bearing photos.

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a joking reference last week suggested that two of our more celebrated public officials might have to resort to charity fundraising to pay for public improvements.

Hours after those comments were published, Rhonda Holub, wife of one of the officials, tragically succumbed to a long and courageous battle with Huntington’s disease.

Given the timing of her passing, my flippant comments were unintentionally insensitive. I apologize.

Rhonda’s husband, County Commissioner Dan Holub, may at times be a bull in a china closet, but Marion County could use a few more bulls and considerably fewer sheep among its leaders. Dan’s energetic devotion to aggressive public service amid his wife’s long illness and other personal sacrifice is to be admired, not joked about.

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Tips of the hat this week to three efforts to improve Marion’s appearance:

Sunflower Antiques’ attractive repainting eliminates what had been a Main Street eyesore. Dory Warnica’s public auction helped clear out what had been a junky warehouse on Water Street. And although a bit more needs to be done, Victor Buckner’s lot west of Marion County Club now much less resembles a home for wayward vehicles.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified July 3, 2012

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