• Ready to serve

    Kent Becker enjoys some remaining free time on the family farm west of Durham before he officially begins his new job as the District 1 commissioner for Marion County March 27. He is the third generation to live at the family location. Becker said his grandfather built the barn in the background around 1917. Kent Becker of rural Durham says […]

    Ready to serve
  • HPD asking residents to lock car doors at night

    The Hillsboro Police Department is asking residents to take precautions when leaving vehicles unlocked around the city. Police Chief Dan Kinning said that during the late night and early morning hours of March 17-19, someone entered about 33 vehicles in the city of Hillsboro. “In 16 of these incidents, loose change, cash and one ring were taken, and nothing else […]

    HPD asking residents to lock car doors at night
  • Marion school counselor receives statewide honor

    Kris Burkholder holds the plaque she received March 3 for being the Kansas Counseling Association’s “Kansas Counselor of the Year” for 2017. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” said Burkholder, who serves Marion elementary and middle schools. “I love what I do.” As the counselor for Marion elementary and middle schools, Kris Burkholder has been influencing young lives in […]

    Marion school counselor receives statewide honor
  • Mayor: Ambulance service in Hillsboro ‘a great big mess’

    Mayor Delores Dalke Mayor Delores Dalke updated the Hillsboro City Council about her efforts to strengthen local ambulance service, which she described as “a great big mess.” “We do not have enough volunteers because the people who were volunteering were hired as full-time people to work out of Marion,” Dalke said near the end of the council’s March 7 meeting. […]

    Mayor: Ambulance service in Hillsboro ‘a great big mess’
  • Fire gear ‘washer’ cuts risk for firefighters

    Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen (foreground) demonstrates the new exterior extractor machine that can “wash away” dangerous chemical and biohazards during a visit to Florence in February. Observing the process are Kevin Doel, public information manager for Jorgensen’s office, and Mark Slater, Florence fire chief. Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen of Topeka was in Florence recently to witness the unveiling […]

    Fire gear ‘washer’ cuts risk for firefighters
  • Grill brush business wins the day at youth contest

    Jonathan Hinerman (left) and Nathan Simhiser make their case for Arrow Grilling in the final round of the second annual Marion County Youth Entrepreneurial Challenge March 7 in the Marion Community Center. The judges, Chris Costello, Ciara Thyfault and Phil Weisenbach (from left), asked questions and evaluated the presentations from each of the three finalist business before declaring Arrow Grilling […]

    Grill brush business wins the day at youth contest
  • ‘Beast Feast’ raises $3,000 to support Marion County Food Bank

    Kevin Fruechting, Administrative Council chairman for the Aulne United Methodist Church, presents a check Sunday morning for $3,000 to Gerry Henderson in support of the Marion County Food Bank. The money was raised through a “Beast Feast” Feb. 18 that served up wild-game delicacies such as squirrel, elk, alligator, barbecued raccoon, venison, fried fish, mountain oysters, smoked trout, goose and […]

    ‘Beast Feast’ raises $3,000 to support Marion County Food Bank
  • Fire chiefs ask for clearer burn-ban resolution

    County fire chiefs present their concern for a clearer burn-ban resolution to commissioners Dianne Novak and Randy Dallke (right side of the table) at the Feb. 21 meeting. Marion County commissioners heard a request at its Feb. 21 meeting from the Fire Chiefs Association asking for a clearer burn-ban resolution. Six of the 13 fire departments in the county were […]

    Fire chiefs ask for clearer burn-ban resolution
  • Student hopes love for acting becomes tool for service

    Hillsboro native Molly Wiebe Faber says the upcoming Tabor College production of “A Doll’s House” is a favorite among a long resume of productions that began for her in the second grade. Her career goal is to combine her love for theater and her love for helping others. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press Molly Wiebe Faber has had her eye […]

    Student hopes love for acting becomes tool for service
  • Hillsboro pharmacy cuts the ribbon on new facility and new name

    Assisted by his coworkers and backed up by a significant contingent of community supporters, owner Eric Driggers cuts the ceremonial ribbon marking the opening of the newly named and located Hillsboro Hometown Phar­macy Monday morning, Feb. 27. The 3,500-square foot building at the corner of Ash Street and Orchard Drive will mark a new beginning and new home for the […]

    Hillsboro pharmacy cuts the ribbon on new facility and new name

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Ready to serve

Ready to serve

March 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Kent Becker enjoys some remaining free time on the family farm west of Durham before he officially...

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Sports »

Tabor secures two walk-off wins

Tabor secures two walk-off wins

March 22, 2017 at 2:52 pm

The Bluejays celebrate after Devon Fisk-Aguilar (left) hit a walk-off RBI single to give...

  • 3 Bluejays earn NAIA accolades

    Lance Carter, Julian Winton and Tena Loewen have received recognition on their respective men’s and women’s...

    March 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm
  • Bluejays lose two games to Friends

    The Tabor College baseball team lost a three-game series to Friends, two games to one Friday and Saturday. Tabor...

    March 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm
  • Four Trojans feted by CKL coaches

    Central Kansas League coaches recognized four members of the state-qualifying boys’ team and three players from...

    March 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

County Wide »

by Patty Decker

The Free Press

Marion County Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said during the March 20 meeting that it was a “sad day” when commissioners can override something that’s already been decided.

Dallke was referring to Limestone Road, which started out as a discussion item, until Commissioner Dianne Novak proposed opening the one-mile of road between 80th and U.S. Highway 50.

“I consider (Limestone) to be a part of the infrastructure,” Novak said. “It is a dirt road and nobody is asking for gravel.”

History of road

The petition to close the one-mile section of Limestone was approved by commissioners Dan Holub and Dallke, but the county only agreed to pay the publication cost and postage.

At that time, the land­owners were required to buy the gate and related supplies for closure.

The seven landowners included Evan Yoder, Terry Eberhard, Gordon Wiebe, Troy Wiebe, Randy Windsor and Graeme Glaser.

A public hearing on closing Limestone was Oct. 17 with Eberhard, Wiebe and Shane Rives, another landowner, present at the meeting.

Rives said the section of road the petitioners signed off on is the most direct access to his property from U.S. Highway 50.

“If this road is closed, my property value will suffer,” Rives said.

During the public hearing, Dallke said people often get stuck on a minimum maintenance road and that it has been a problem road for many years.

“The surrounding fields are higher than the road, and during rainy weather, more and more of the road washes into those adjoining fields,” he said.

“There is no easy fix for this road.”

Rives said he was willing to fix the road and pay up to $20,000 to rebuild it.

Wiebe said that at the south end, the field is about three feet higher than the road, adding it would take a lot to build the road up properly.

Dallke suggested a vote be postponed until all three commissioners were available, but Tina Spencer, county clerk, said that if the vote was held off, another hearing would probably be needed.

Both Holub and Dallke agreed to close the road in 60 days unless Rives presented an engineering study.

A resolution to close a one-mile section of Limestone was presented for approval on Dec. 16.

Dallke said the 60-day time period given to Rives to present a plan for repairing the road expired.

However, Dallke said he wanted to followup personally with Rives prior to the official closure.

No action was taken at that time.

Status update

Spencer asked about the status of Limestone Road and if anyone had contacted Rives about repairing it in lieu of closing that section.

Dallke said he hadn’t been able to contact Rives, but asked the board for clarification of what would be accepted.

At the Dec. 30 meeting, Novak asked why the county isn’t collecting penalties or fines from farmers and other individuals encroaching county road right-of-ways and causing damage.

The damage on that section of Limestone Road, she said, is that damage is being caused by landowners farming on the road.

“Why is the county disenfranchising one taxpayer by requiring him to pay the cost of rebuilding the road?” she asked.

Novak said her suggestion would be to have the road department repair Limestone, and after doing so it could be maintained easily.

Although Dallke said he appreciated Novak’s point of view, it’s not always cost effective to maintain every stretch of roadway.

Disagreement continues

In mid-February, no resolution was passed regarding the road closing of Limestone between 80th and U.S. Highway 50.

A difference of opinion existed between Commissioner Lori Lalouette and Novak, who both want the road to remain open, and Dallke who is against the issue resurfacing.

Jesse Hamm, road and bridge superintendent, said the road is fixable.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it was initially,” he said.

The estimated time to complete the work was anywhere from 10 days to two weeks, but Hamm said he has other roads on his list prior to Limestone.

Another concern, which Novak said could be addressed at another time was in regards to legality.

Susan Robson, county counselor, said she needs to get clarification regarding voting on something or if it requires a resolution before it’s legally done.

Lalouette said there is a difference between a “vacated” road and “closed” road.

“The difference when a road is vacated is that the easement is gone, but closing is different requiring minimum maintenance,” she said.

That stretch of Limestone, Lalouette said has gully in the middle of the road and big washouts, which makes a difference.

In other business, the commissioners:

• went into a 15-minute executive session with Ray Cook, appraiser. After returning to open session, Cook tendered his resignation effective at the end of April or by mid-May.

• tabled a discussion with Ed Debesis, EMS director, after learning he underwent surgery last weekend.

• heard a presentation by Justin Bayes with Schilling Construction.

• listened to discussion by Gary Jacks, area manager, Dustrol Inc. regarding the concept of hot-in-place recycling in repairing deteriorated streets and highways onsite.

Jacks said the benefits include low-cost maintenance and flexibility being restored to the asphalt material.

March 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm

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Chess Guild wins 2-1A state title

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March 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm

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