2000: Year of change, challenges

The year 2000 began in Hillsboro with concerns about potential computer glitches and possible electrical outages. It ended with concerns about skyrocketing natural gas prices and a cold start to winter.

Between the beginning and the end, area residents encountered their fair share of challenges, accomplishments and disappointments.

Following is a chronology of the past 12 months.


Ethan David Magathan, Hillsboro was the first child born in Marion County in the new millennium. The son of Katy and Kerry Magathan was born in the Magathan home at 9:37 a.m., Jan. 3.

Emprise Bank announced it would be converting its basement from a community room into offices and work space.

A two-year study of Marion Reservoir revealed that the water quality is good. Phase 2 of the study would look at ways to protect the reservoir from harmful sediments over the long term.

Dan Harper announced his resignation as Marion County sheriff, effective Feb. 1, to join a family business in Georgia.

Dave Breese, well-known Christian Destiny television speaker and Bible teacher from Hillsboro, suffered a debilitating stroke Jan. 10.

Lee Becker was elected sheriff at a meeting of Marion County Republicans by a vote of 36-1.


The City of Hillsboro has decided to formally explore the delicate issue of “backyard businesses” after a resident charged discrimination when officials asked him to clean up his property.

The Hillsboro City Council signed a contract for a new electrical substation at a special meeting Feb. 7. The deadline for partial completion was July 1 and final completion was set for Aug. 1, subject to weather delays.

Marion Regier was elected president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. Regier is the chief financial officer at Hillsboro Community Medical Center.

Cooperative Grain & Supply, based in Hillsboro, announced it had joined four other area cooperatives in a new grain-marketing partnership called Team Marketing Alliance, LLC.

Only five months after moving into its new $4 million facility in the Hillsboro Industrial Park, United Feed, LLC, was in the process of finding a new company name after a trademark lawsuit was filed against the local firm by a company in Sheridan, Ind., called United Feeds, Inc.

Three Hillsboro High School wrestlers, Chuck Bina, Ronnie Davis and Carson Greenhaw, qualified for the state wrestling tournament. Davis came within one match of placing in the top three in his weight class.


Hillsboro residents were encouraged to cooperate with the 2000 Census beginning this month because the results help determine how much federal money a community will receive.

United Feed, LLC announced that its new name would be Countryside Feed, LLC.

A Hesston couple said they plan to build a laundromat in Hillsboro. Sandy and Ken Welsh also own laundries in Hesston and Newton. The target date for completion was July 1.

The HHS girls’ basketball team qualified for the state tournament with a 52-43 win over Northern Heights in the sub-state championship game. The boys lost to Osage City, the eventual state champion, in the semifinals of sub-state. The Trojan girls lost to Smith Center, 59-48, in the state tournament’s opening round.

The Hillsboro City Council made what should be the last change in the rental policy for rooms in the city building. The change effectively prevents for-profit businesses from out of town from using the facility.

Angela Kroeker and Grant Brubacher were unanimous picks for the MCAA first team. Jill Hein was also picked for first-team honors.

Matt Krebs resigned as Tabor College women’s basketball coach after completing the season with a 2-26 record.

After two years of controversy and adversity, a district court judge cleared the Marion County Board of Zoning and Appeals of the wrongdoing that was alleged in a lawsuit filed against the county by MSW, Inc., owners of the old county landfill.

Rising fuel prices made many farmers concerned about their economic well-being in the face of low crop prices.

Barb Ratzlaff announced she would be stepping down as interim director of Main Street Ministries, effective June 1.

Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh was the guest speaker at the annual Hillsboro Historical Society dinner and fund-raiser March 16.

Tabor College broke ground for a long awaited strength-training facility March 27. The project was expected to cost $175,000. The student body contributed $40,000 to the project through student fees.

Marion County commissioners gave the green light for construction of Rural Water District No. 5.

A group of about two dozen Marion County residents agreed to form a lake association to promote and enhance Marion County Lake and Marion Reservoir.

The Hillsboro City Council agreed March 21 to install flashing lights in two locations along D Street to mark Tabor College crosswalks.

Lon Fendall resigned as dean of the faculty and vice president of academic affairs at Tabor, effective in summer.


Brian Chamberlain, 20, Hillsboro, received third-degree burns over 20 to 30 percent of his body following a fiery car accident at the corner of North Ash and U.S. Highway 56, April 2. Chamberlain was pulled from the wreckage by eyewitnesses.

Wedel Publishing LLC sold the Hillsboro Star-Journal to Hoch Publishing Co. Inc., publishers of the Marion County Record. The sale became effective April 1.

Wendell Dirks and Mike Padgett, running unopposed, were reelected to the Hillsboro City Council April 4. Only 6 percent of registered voters in Hillsboro participated in the election.

Barbara Holsomback, a Texas native, was named managing editor of the Hillsboro Star-Journal by the paper’s new publisher, Bill Meyer.

The Dollar General Store opened in Hillsboro Heights. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held April 13.

Shawn Winter was appointed director or Main Street Ministries by the organization’s board of directors. Lillian Bookless was named assistant director and manager of the Lord Storehouse, the food pantry and clothing exchange.

Completion of the city’s new electrical substation was delayed until fall because of a lack of available steel to build it.

Marion County commissioners approved Phase 2 of their road-resurfacing project, estimated to cost $1.034 million.


Glen Suppes announced he was resigning as HHS principal after eight years on the job. The resignation would take effect at the end of the contract year. He accepted a job as superintendent of schools for USD 400 in Lindsborg.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County announced it was forming a satellite agency in Marion County.

The Hillsboro City Council voted to add the position of city administrator to its operation. The Kansas League of Municipalities will help with the search.

Tom Faulkner announced his resignation as chief executive officer at Hillsboro Community Medical Center, effective June 30. He cited health issues as the reason. He served as interim administrator from October 1997 to March 1998. In August 1998 he accepted an invitation to return in a permanent role.

Goertz Furniture owners Larry and Judy Klein announced they would be closing the store soon. The business had operated at the same location for 114 years.

Marsha Setzkorn-Meyer was appointed manager of this year’s Marion County Fair.

Hillsboro High School graduated 37 students May 20. Four valedictorians, each with a 4.0 grade-point average, were honored: Heide Friesen, Sara Janzen, Angela Kroeker and Heather Matz.

Tabor College graduate 110 students May 21, including 64 bachelor of arts candidates, 42 bachelor of sciences candidates and six associate of arts candidates.

For the second time in the two-year history of the program, the HHS baseball team finished one game short of a state tournament berth, losing to Southeast of Saline, 11-9, in the sub-state championship game.

Grant Wiens and Phillip Thiessen of HHS qualified for and competed in the state golf tournament.

Michael Hagen of HHS qualified for state by finishing second in regional tennis competition. At state, he finished ninth in Class 3-2-1A.

Lisa Meyers Schmidt, a Hillsboro native, was named Tabor College’s “Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year.” Casey Barton received the men’s award.

HHS seniors were offered $907,000 in college scholarship money this year, according to counselor Diana Holub. The amount accepted was $455,000.

HHS qualified 13 athletes for the state track and field meet. Ryan Jilka was the highest HHS finisher at state, just missing a gold medal in a photo-finish.

The HHS softball team lost the regional championship game to Southeast of Saline, 7-5, ending Hillsboro’s hopes of a state tournament berth.

The new owners of the Hill Crest Motel are Jeroen Heijne and his wife, Zerrin. The transfer took effect May 23. The couple are from Holland.

Earl Wineinger, HHS vocational agriculture instructor, died May 30 at age 62. He had taught at HHS for 10 years.

Marion County law-enforcement officers raised $3,500 for Kansas Special Olympics by running 25 miles across the county.


About 100 MAYB teams from around the state participated in a basketball tournament hosted in Hillsboro. The city could expect an economic impact of $200,000 to $300,000 from the event.

Howard Keim, a former faculty member at Tabor College, was named the school’s new dean of academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Six members of the HHS softball team and five from the baseball team received All-MCAA honors. Jill Hein, Emily Donahue were named first-team for softball and Tyson Ratzlaff for baseball.

Dale Honeck was named the new principal at HHS. He had been principal at Hugoton for nine years and will begin his new post July 27.

Betty Dirks sold her confection business, Betty’s Delites, to George and Lori Montgomery of Buhler. The business will relocate in Buhler.

Hillsboro Hardware began renovation to expand into the former Goertz Furniture building next door.

Two Hillsboro churches ended long searches for senior pastors. Bruce and Janice Porter will join the staff Sept. 1. Ken and Carol Peterson expect to begin ministry Nov. 1.

Home Expressions, a new home furnishings business, opened its doors in the old Buller Manufacturing building on North Main. The owners are Matt Hiebert, Sherry Kunkel and Bruce Kunkel.

Byron “Barney” McCarty retired from the Hillsboro Police Department at the end of the month, completing more than a quarter-century of service to the city.


Michael Ryan was named the new chief executive officer at Hillsboro Community Medical Center, effective Sept. 1. For the past four years he was administrator of a hospital in Seneca.

Paul Epp, owner of Total Home Repair & Appliance, announced he will move his business from 117 S. Main to a larger building at 101 S. Main. He reported that he has leased his old building to Rong Ling Ni, Burlington, who plans to start a Chinese restaurant there.

Sharon Suderman succeeded Dwayne Abrahams as director of the Marion County Learning Center in Hillsboro. The center focuses on helping adults complete a high school degree.

Nick Navrat, Newton, announced his plans to build a three-screen, first-run movie theater in Hillsboro Heights. Target date for completion was Christmas.

A fatal accident at the corner of North Ash and U.S. Highway 56 raised concerns about the speed limit on the highway.

The Peabody City Council approved a bid to construct a long-awaited water transmission line from Hillsboro to Peabody.

Tyson Ratzlaff, an HHS football standout, played in the Shrine Bowl high school all-star game in Topeka.


Republican incumbent Don Steffes lost his bid for reelection to the state senate from District 35, losing in the Aug. 1 primary to Jay Emler of Lindsborg. In contested county elections, Susan Robson defeated incumbent Dan Baldwin for county attorney, Leroy Wetta defeated incumbent Jack Bruner for county commission, Eileen Sieger and Howard Collett won nominations for the respective parties over Dan Holub and Bill Holdeman for county commission, and Lee Becker defeated Johnny Sanko in the Republican race for sheriff.

Workers from APAC, a Newton-based company, completed a two-inch asphalt overlay of D Street in time for the Marion County Fair.

Main Street Ministries announced it was launching a $55,000 fund drive to improve its facility at 415 S. Main. Replacing 133 windows was a key component of the project.

The 70th Marion County Fair drew several thousand visitors Aug. 9 through 12.

Hillsboro Industries completed a year-long project to design and build a 34-foot mobile test station for Cessna Aircraft. It was “the most customized unit we have ever built,” according to Tom Kaufman, project director.

Clara Frick resigned from the USD 410 Board of Education after the state supreme court ruled a person could not work for the district and be a board member. Frick was a bus driver.

Spirit-N-Celebration, an HHS chorale, was picked to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service workshop next February.

Chanda Rigby, a successful high school coach from Louisiana, was named head coach of the Tabor College women’s basketball program. Nathan Wilke was named interim soccer head coach.

A fish kill that resulted in about 30,000 dead white bass at Marion Reservoir in late August was blamed on a freak combination of hot temperatures and a dense white bass population.

From Aug. 9 through Aug. 27, Marion County endured 17 days with temperatures soaring to 100 degrees or higher. With a corresponding lack of rain, the county commission enacted a burn ban.

Welsh Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning opened for business.

Rhonda Toal was hired as the new administrative assistant for the Hillsboro Management Board, succeeding Tracy Isaac.

The Hillsboro Planning and Development Commission approved wording for a new zoning ordinance addressing home-based businesses.


USD 410 agreed to purchase a school broadcast station at a price of $29,000. The school station will replace current programming on Channel 45, the local access channel for Hillsboro.

Hillsboro defeated Marion 65-43 in the first Bruce-Crofoot Challenge Cup. The challenge was named in the memory of longtime civic leaders and golf enthusiasts Bud Bruce of Hillsboro and John Crofoot of Marion.

Chad Meisinger, 4, won his age division of the Kids Pedal Power Tractor Pull at the Kansas State Fair.

Blessed with great weather, this year’s Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair drew a record crowd of nearly 50,000 people.

The Kansas Corporation Commission announced that Hillsboro and the surrounding area would receive a new area code for telephones. The new area code will begin Jan. 1 with time allowed for transition.

Papers were signed Sept. 19, finalizing the transfer of property at First and Main from the Hillsboro Kiwanis Club to Scott Warren, the developer chosen for Hillsboro’s new post office. Construction on the new post office should start in January and be completed by next summer.

Marion County commissioners approved a plan to add a second K-9 unit in the county for drug searches.

Steven F. Garrett, city manager at Stockton, was named city administrator for Hillsboro. He will begin his new post Oct. 20.

The Tabor College football team defeated Bethany College 14-7 Sept. 23 in one of the biggest victories in Tabor football history. Bethany was a preseason conference favorite.


Agri Producers Inc., a cooperative headquartered in Tampa, began a $288,000 project to add a 144,000-bushel concrete bin at its Durham branch Oct. 1.

Tabor announced an all-time high enrollment of 586 students, including 435 on the Hillsboro campus, 109 enrolled at Tabor-Wichita, 28 students enrolled through Trinity Academy in Wichita, and 14 students in the college’s new graduate program.

A house fire northwest of Durham took the lives of six members of the Richard Thayer family, including his wife, Mary Esther. Six members of the family survived. The fire was believed to have been caused by a wood-burning stove.

James Thomas from HHS was named “Assistant Principal of the Year” by the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.

According to the Corps of Engineers, rainfall for 2000 through Oct. 16 was 20.53 inches. The average rainfall is 32 inches for a full year.

Marilyn Schmidt stepped down as school clerk for USD 410 after 27 years of service.

The Tabor men’s and women’s soccer teams clinched KCAC titles.

HHS’s No. 1 doubles team of Becky Jantz and Amber Hefley took home 10th-place medals from the Class 3-2-1A state tennis meet. The doubles team of Megan Vogel and Candace Barkman also qualified for the competition.

A public hearing for the city council’s proposed home-business ordinance drew several dozen people and some spirited discussion Oct. 26.

The HHS cross-country team placed second at the Class 3A state cross country meet in Wamego. Garrett Call won an individual medal for his 11th-place finish.

Ray Smith, national commander of the American Legion, was the featured guest at the banquet held in his honor at the Hillsboro post Oct. 31.


Propane prices were expect to climb to as high as $1.50 this winter, according to an area supplier.

The HHS football team lost to Riley County 24-12 in the bi-district playoffs and finished their season as district champions with a 7-3 mark.

The following candidates won contested races for area office in the Nov. 7 general election: Jay Emler, state senate; Don Dahl, state house; Lee Becker, county sheriff; Howard Collett, county commission. Republican George W. Bush carried Marion County with 58 percent of the vote.

John Ryding, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, won a $1,000 prize for being the 101st caller to identify Allen Jackson’s song, “Chat-a-hoo-chee,” in a contest sponsored by KFDI radio.

Joel Klaassen, publisher of the Hillsboro Free Press asked the city council to make a sister paid-circulation publication, the Hillsboro Free Press Digest, the city’s official newspaper for the purpose of publishing legals. His plan would have paid legals run in the limited-circulation Digest and then be republished in the broad-circulation Free Press for no charge. The Hillsboro Star-Journal, the current official newspaper, spoke in opposition to the proposal.

HCMC began renovating its emergency unloading zone to comply with a state fire marshall’s finding that it was a hazard. The unloading area had been the same for 25 years.

The seventh annual Toy Run drew the largest participation yet and raised around $4,000 at an auction and chili feed. Nearly 60 motorcycles and cars-125 people in all-participated. Each entry brought a new toy to be delivered to a needy child.

Twelve Trojans were named to the All-MCAA football and volleyball teams. First-team selections for football were Scott Winter, Dan Funk, Jeremy Loewen, Ron Davis and Andrew Hein. First-team volleyball picks were Jill Hein, Angela Herzet and Julie Hett.


A two-vehicle head-on accident on Indigo Road killed two Marion County residents Dec. 4.

A Greeley Gas Co. spokesman predicted natural gas prices will be as much as 50 percent higher this winter than a year ago.

Hillsboro Middle School counselor Tonja Wienck proposed at a USD 410 Board of Education meeting that a “therapy dog” be brought into the school to help calm angry and aggressive students.

The county commissioners publicly announced its opposition to a new landfill considered for Marion County. A few weeks earlier, several residents of Marion and surrounding area had filed a lawsuit to challenge the annexation of property by the Marion City Commission that could lead to the development of a new landfill.

Marion County may have to reconsider how it provides emergency medical technicians if more volunteers aren’t found, according to JoAnn Knak, director of the program.

Tabor met the $200,000 fund-raising goal needed to qualify for an anonymous gift of $100,000, all of which will go toward endowing a chair in the school’s Bible department.

Jeremy Loewen, an HHS senior, was selected to play in the 2001 Shrine Bowl, a Kansas high school all-star football game, scheduled for next July.

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