• With father ill, farm becomes teen's responsibility

    Dusten Plenert, 16, loves to play football. A Hillsboro High School sophomore, he hopes to get varsity playing time this fall at running back. Basketball is a different story. Reflecting on last year’s long season, Dusten isn’t certain he’ll play this winter.

  • Larger classes force art out of grade school

    Marion Elementary School will no longer offer its once-a-week art class to its students, a change made because of abnormally high enrollment numbers for the incoming kindergarten class, principal Justin Wasmuth said. After anticipating an enrollment of between 40 and 45 students, a class of 52 enrolled this past week. He said the average kindergarten class is between 38 and 40 students.

  • EMS volunteer numbers dwindle

    Interim EMS director JoAnn Knak has a difficult situation on her hands. In what she called an aging community, she has an aging volunteer emergency medical staff. Between the Marion, Hillsboro, Peabody, and Tampa EMS services, Knak said, there are 14 volunteers, with one leaving soon from the Hillsboro department.

  • After 6 months, Ewert is cough-free

    It happened at a rest stop in Vail, Colorado. “Who’s that coughing?” the scraggly drunkard asked.

  • Cows go mad for music; farmer's video goes viral

    Rural Peabody farmer Derek Klingenberg has done it again. A video of him playing “Royals” by Lorde on the trombone to his cows has gone viral, amassing more than 5 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube Friday. The video, one of the simpler ones Klingenberg has created, features him sitting in an empty pasture with a trombone. After a few minutes of playing, cows begin running toward Klingenberg form a semicircle around him.

  • City raises property taxes and utility rates in new budget

    No public comment was raised Monday during a special meeting where Marion City Council approved a budget that increases property taxes and utility costs. Rates for all utilities are budgeted to increase $1.50 for base rates, but won’t be approved until at least January. Electric rates could increase or decrease based on increases passed down to the city. The increases, if approved in full, would add nearly $70 per year to residents bills.


  • City hires another clerk

    Tiffany Jeffrey will continue working for the city, but in a different role. Currently the court clerk and police department office manager, she will now become the city’s third city clerk this year. She will start Aug. 18.

  • More money, no tax hike for 408

    Marion-Florence school district patrons have the Kansas Supreme Court to thank for increased 2014-15 funding without increased taxes. The $9,694,781 budget, passed without comment Monday by the board of education, includes a $205,000 increase in the local option budget, the result of a court decision forcing the Kansas Legislature to fully fund the state’s share of the budget.

  • Remodel nearly complete

    Contractors from Axel Construction worked to put the finishing touches on apartments in the September Apartment complex. They have been remodeling the complex since January. Resident Magdalen Dvorak said she loves her newly remodeled apartment. She lives in one of four apartments with extended living rooms.

  • Commissioners debate FACT funding reallocation

    County health department director Diedre Serene excluded Families and Communities Together Inc. from the proposed 2015 budget, sparking discussion among commissioners Monday about how to continue support for the nonprofit social service agency. Serene removed an annual allocation of $6,000 FACT has received since 2002. She said she supports what FACT does, but chose to free the funds for use in other ways.

  • Reservoir algae free once again

    Since May, Marion Reservoir has been plagued by blue-green algae. This week Kansas Department of Health and Environment gave the all clear to resume water activity at the reservoir, allowing the beaches to be open. Last week KDHE downgraded the reservoir’s warning to an advisory, but this week, while other lakes around the state were added to the list, the reservoir was completely removed. Why?

  • Elgin still awaiting buyer

    After spending three years restoring it and six years operating it, Jim Cloutier has spent nearly five months on the Elgin Hotel trying to sell it. He said he wanted to retire and travel more, and didn’t want to be tied down to a business.




  • Corn still has potential, but price is down

    Corn yield is likely to be down but not as much as initially feared after dry weather in July, corn dealer and farmer Terry Vinduska of Marion said Monday. “In June, it looked marvelous; it looked like a bumper crop,” he said. “It’s been hurt a lot, but there still is corn out there.”

  • How to estimate corn yields

    Growers can get an estimate of their corn yield by sampling small sections of a field. For corn planted in 30-inch rows, select a 17.5-foot length of one row. Husk five random ears and count the total kernels. Divide by 5 to determine the average number of kernels per ear.

  • Elevator adds space in Hillsboro

    Cooperative Grain and Supply in Hillsboro is expanding. Those driving by have been witnessing a concrete pillar steadily growing taller since early July. Now crews from McPherson Concrete Products are nearly finished with the 160-foot high walls. Cooperative Grain supervisor Dick Tippin said the new silo should be complete in late August and ready for use by mid-September.

  • Burning all year? It depends on the goal

    A 20-year study by Kansas State University found burning Flint Hills pasture at different times of year have few negative consequences to plant growth. Range owners in Marion County typically burn in April. Burning in April allows plants to begin growing and therefore effectively kills the plants. Walt Fick, rangeland management specialist with Kansas State University Extension, said this valuable burning benefit would disappear if range owners burned too early.

  • Pigweed taking hold

    Palmer amaranth, otherwise known as “Palmer pigweed,” has become a problem to many farmers in central and western Kansas. Palmer amaranth is an aggressive and invasive weed that used to be controlled by a popular herbicide called glyphosate.

  • Cooped up in luxury

    When Stephanie Ax and Larry Lago got engaged, one of the things Lago said he would enjoy was space to raise chickens as he did when he was a child. “He loved taking care of them and having them around,” Ax said. “He said he thought they were relaxing.”


  • A heartbeat away from needless tragedy

    Listening to ambulance calls in Marion County is one of the easiest ways to realize we’re just a heartbeat away from needless tragedy. No, we’re not talking about emergencies the county’s dedicated and capable ambulance workers handle. We’re talking about emergencies that, for reasons sometimes legitimate and sometimes not, they can’t.

  • Give education a sporting chance

    Call me curmudgeonly if you will, but say a few words of thanks to whatever teacher taught you what that word means or instilled in you the spirit to look it up. It’s no surprise for a person who makes his living as a college professor to come out four-square in favor of education. But as we all gear up for the start of another school sports season, let’s try to remember that what really counts is what happens in the classroom, not on the playing field.

  • Public service is a family affair

    Perhaps we’re fossils of a bygone era in which gambling was illegal instead of something the state constantly advertises, liquor was sold only in clubs, prescription drugs were never advertised, and non-prescription pills had to prove they actually treated something instead of simply making outlandish claims. Last we checked, however, nepotism was regarded as bad thing — so bad that major corporations and especially government went to great pains to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest by having spouses and other relatives in positions that would let them influence the careers of family members.


    Playing games with life


  • Aulne Boys quartet reunites

    A reunion Sunday at Aulne United Methodist Church of the Aulne Boys gospel quartet will feature plenty of singing, but group member Kevin Fruechting said the event won’t be a concert. “We’re not going to stand there and do song after song after song for an hour,” Fruechting said. “We don’t want this to be about us. We’re looking at this more as a fun time of worship, rather than a concert.”

  • Birthday to be celebrated

    An open house honoring Estelle McCarty on her 80th birthday will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at Hilltop Manor activity room, 1501 E. Lawrence. Cards may be sent to her at 1501 E. Lawrence, Apt. 2F, Marion KS 66861. McCarty has requested no gifts.

  • 51 attend Gooding reunion

    Fifty-one members of the Gooding family gathered for a potluck dinner July 20 at Marion County Lake Hall. Among those attending were, by hometown: Abilene: Connie Thompson and Taylor, Brooklyn Sluder, Bonnie Seaman, and George Welborne. Cedar Falls, Iowa: John and Emilie Bostwick, Payton and Isabelle, and Craig and Crystal Smith. El Dorado: Virgil and Barb Gooding, Danny Gooding, Mike Gooding, Casey Gooding and Cheyon, and Missy Jack. Dodge City: Glenn Kerbs. Manhattan: Mark and April Reidy and Gracie. Marion: Michelle Gooding. Pilsen: Jesse and Ashton Smith and Sydney. Queen Creek, Arizona: Shane and Carrie Faulkner, Clayton, Carsten, Sage, and Campbell. Salina: Tim and Marchelle Kerbs. Tampa: Russ and Julie Kerbs, Rustyn Kerns, and Lucille Kerbs. Tempe, Arizona: Elmer Gooding. Topeka: Al and Lila Gooding, Pat and Tammi Pierce, and Roy and Jolene Presley. Winfield: Dennis and Debbie Love, Danae, Mercedes, Joey, and Zoey.

  • TOPS member reaches weight goal

    Effie Smith of rural Marion knew she needed to lose weight but realized she couldn’t do it on her own. That is why she joined TOPS KS 1075, Marion, in January 2013. She lost 30 pounds in 18 months and achieved her goal in July. Since then, she has lost another 5 pounds.

  • T-shirt quilts are memory map

    The T-shirt quilts Marion mother Nicki Case crafted for her sons, Wil and Grif, were a labor of love and a testament to the fact that a mother’s work is never done. “The quilts are like letter jackets,” Case said. “Each got what I call a baseball quilt and a senior quilt.”


    Alexis Brewer

    Seniors receive produce

    10, 25, 35, 50, 60, 100, 125 years ago


  • Hospital board approves budget, benefits

    At a brief meeting in the basement of St. Luke Medical Clinic, the Hospital District Number One board of directors unanimously approved its budget and a new employee benefits package. The board decided to keep its mill levy the same because the district’s assessed valuation rose from an estimated $58,970,746 to $62,978,511.

  • Centre tax rate decreases

    In a brief hearing Monday, the Centre board of education approved a 2014-15 school budget that increased the district’s spending authority by $370,000. The increase comes from a raise in property valuations and in funding from the state. The budget calls for general spending authority of $3,344,154 and a supplemental of $771,880. Capital outlay expenditures are capped at $300,000.

  • Runners dodge rain for momma

    Overcast skies, intermittent light rain, and a last-minute course change did not deter 79 runners from participating in the sixth annual Run for Your Momma half-marathon and 5K races Saturday at Marion County Lake. Runners avoided a muddy mile of Timber Rd. when race organizers diverted the 13.1-mile half-marathon course one mile east to gravel-covered Turkey Creek Rd. The course led 52 runners from the lake into Marion and back, then down a two-mile south loop before circling the lake to the finish line.

  • Cheerleaders get in shape for upcoming season

    They’ve been practicing since June doing conditioning drills, working on timing, perfecting formation. These Marion High School students are ready for football season. Only they’re not the football team. They’re cheerleaders, 16 girls that comprise the largest squad in recent history to cheer on MHS sports teams. Eight of those are first-time cheerleaders.

  • Centre education staff includes five new teachers

    Centre students will be greeted Thursday by many familiar and five unfamiliar teachers. Ashley Coirier is the new business teacher. She has a degree in agriculture education from Kansas State University. She taught ag education for two years before working at Cottonwood Valley Bank in Cottonwood Falls and Intrust Bank in Cassoday. She has a waiver from the state to teach business classes.

  • Marion adds three to school staff

    Julia Miller comes to USD 408 straight out of Bethel College. She will teach vocal music to fifth through 12th grades and will be the fall musical director.

  • FFA officers attend retreat

    Marion High School FFA officers planned upcoming chapter activities and worked on teamwork, leadership, goals, and parliamentary procedure at an annual retreat last week in Dillon, Colorado. Officers on the retreat included Raleigh Kroupa, Dylan Carpenter, Bret Voth, Elizabeth Meyer, Aidan Cairns, Kaitlyn Goebel, and Cade Harms. Advisor Mark Meyer accompanied the group.


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