ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
It will be about six months before the first low-interest loans for $15,000 or less are made under a Kansas micro-loan grant program, Susan Cooper, development director, reported Monday to the Marion City Commission.
The loans from the $100,000 federal grant administered through the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing are for businesses in Marion County with five or fewer employees at an interest rate of not less than 4 percent below prime.
Cooper said a number of inquiries have been made about the loans, which must go through steps before being dispersed.
The first step is the appointment of a state-certified administrator for the program in Marion County, she said, with only three persons in the county now qualified.
Cooper, Hillsboro City Administrator Steven Garrett, and County Commissioner Bob Hein recently received training in the loan program.
Police Chief David Mayfield announced the city of Marion will participate in a statewide tornado drill at mid-morning and again in the evening March 12 with March 14 designated as an alternate date in case of actual bad weather.
According to information Mayfield received from the state, Marion County recorded 34 tornados from 1950 through 2001 with one fatality and two injuries.
During the same period, neighboring counties Chase recorded 32 twisters with no fatalities and 2 injuries, McPherson recorded 38 twisters with one fatality and 16 injuries, Dickinson recorded 30 twisters with no fatalities and nine injuries.
Last year’s 101 tornados was the third-highest annual total reported for Kansas, and the most since 1993.
The state had one tornado death, 31 injuries mostly in Hoisington, which also had the strongest twister at F4, with 34 the most in a month in April, and $47 million damage.
The longest tornado track recorded in 2001 for Kansas was 40 miles across Trego, Ellis and Rooks counties.
Jim Cather reported to the commission on continued attempts to make Marion Cemetery easier to visit for persons seeking a family grave or for researchers such as genealogists.
Cather is a member of the cemetery board for the city along with Bud Hannaford, City Commissioner Bud Pierce, Ross Case, Phyllis Kruetziger, Forrest Smith and Rosalie Schmidtberger, who came to the meeting with Cather.
Cather said the cemetery, which opened in the early 1870s, now has a coded list of grave locations, which is updated annually and housed in the restroom building. This was done by volunteers who recorded every gravestone to lay out locations, he said.
Cather credited Jean Case with not only aiding the volunteer effort, but with obtaining donation help from the Marion High School class of 1947.
Cather said the cemetery board, aided by city workers Marty Fredrickson and Dale Johnson, set policies for the cemetery and work to beautify it.
Upon recommendation by City Administrator Dennis Nichols, the commission approved a new employee benefit to allow all full-time employees, all year-round part-time employees and volunteer firemen to be exempt from paying the city burn-site fee.
City residents pay $2 a day to dump tree limbs and other appropriate items, and non-residents pay $3.
Nichols reminded commissioners that city appointments will be reconsidered in April.
Current appointees are Dan Baldwin as city attorney, Nichols as administrator and city clerk, Linda Holub and Angela Lange as assistant city clerks, Holub again as city treasurer, Mayfield as police chief, Bryson Mills as municipal judge, Holub as court clerk, Thad Meierhoff as fire chief and Cynthia Blount as historical museum director.
Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, reported 95.05 tons of solid waste disposed of through KC
Development transfer station in February.
Commissioners unanimously approved the current investment and collateral report, a state sponsored resolution naming April fair housing month, a resolution of a lease for an already approved Ditch Witch, and paying warrants for $32,412.62.