Economy dominates local interest in 2002

Hillsboro was not left untouched by economic challenges that much of the country endured in 2002.

Local investors felt the impact of a slumping stock market like everyone else, but in this area, more conversation centered on the impact of drought and a state budget crisis.

Still, the local economy saw numerous positive developments too, including $4.80 wheat and a retooling downtown business district.

Following is a chronological review of the year.


Hillsboro was named a retail “Little Giant” by Kansas State community development economist David Darling because of its 1.12 “pull factor” for 2000-01-which meant the city attracted more retail business (based on sales tax) than it lost to other cities. Only 14 cities with a population under 5,000 were so designated in the study.

Rico, a 21/2-year-old Belgian Malenois, was introduced to the community as the newest member of the Hillsboro Police Department’s K-9 unit. His job would be to detect narcotics, track, recover evidence and protect his caretaker-officer.

The Hillsboro City Council voted to move ahead with plans to repair three under drains in the city’s water-treatment plant at a projected cost of between $85,000 to $100,000.

Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball, Chtd., based in McPherson, assumed the tax and accounting practice at Claassen Financial Services, effective Jan. 2. Diane Claassen, CFS owner, will operate the investment-planning component of the business out of her home.

By the Jan. 22 deadline, Daren Arndt and Shelby Dirks had filed for the city council seat being vacated by Wendell Dirks, and Byron McCarty was the only person to file for the seat being vacated by Mike Padgett.

The city council voted Jan. 22 to hire a professional tree-trimming service as the next step in an effort to eliminate electrical outages caused by squirrels.

An electrical fire at 216 S. Main displaced the family of William and Virginia Tarbox and their six children Jan. 31.


The city council approved at its Feb. 15 meeting the reconstruction of the intersection of Washington and Grand streets, and the reconstruction of the alley that runs between North Main and North Washington between Grand and First streets. The two projects were estimated to cost $202,000.

Barkman Honey Co. of Hillsboro announced it was combining its operation with Stoller’s Honey in Latty, Ohio, to form a new company called Golden Heritage Foods, LLC, effective March 9. The headquarters for the new company-which would be the nation’s third-largest honey manufacturer-would be in Hillsboro.

Tabor College and Hesston College signed an articulation agreement Feb. 8 that would make for a smoother transfer of credits-and students-from Hesston to Tabor.

The Schaeffler House, built in 1909 at 312 E. Grand, was approved Feb. 23 by the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review to be included on the Register of Historic Kansas Places.

The former Dari-Ette Drive-In building was razed, removing a local landmark that had operated under various owners and in various forms since 1956.

Advantage Marketing of Edmond, Okla., took over administrative responsibilities for enrollment management at Tabor College following the resignation of Glenn L. Lygrisse, who had served as vice president in that area for 10 years.

The USD 410 Board of Education debated its role as a landlord after an electrical short caused a garage fire March 1 at a property it owned at 202 S. Madison. The house attached to the garage was being rented by a mother and her five children.

A March 16 benefit dinner at First Mennonite Church raised about $12,000 for Vickie and Ted Russell to help cover expenses related to her battle with cancer.

PrecisionGRO, a company whose products promise convenient gardening through more efficient distribution of fertilizer, located its business in the former AMPI building in Hillsboro. Jerry Nowak of Colwich is the company president.

Cara Marrs was appointed director of admissions at Tabor College. Marrs, a 1996 graduate of Tabor, was working as coordinator of recruitment activities at the college.

Ag Power, the local farm-implement dealership, announced it would acquire Paul’s Auto, an auto-parts business located adjacent to it. Paul Pankratz, owner of Paul’s Auto, had been in the business for 37 years.

The city council approved the general concept of building a new city electrical shop. The new shop would replace the one lost in a lightning fire in July 2001.


Shelby Koons, a fifth-grader at Hillsboro Elementary, was named the state winner in the National Arbor Day Poster Contest sponsored by the Kansas Forest Service. As the Kansas winner, she received a $100 U.S. Savings Bond and a framed copy of her poster.

Lou and Steve Greenhaw announced they were planning to open a fitness center in the old post office building located a 111 E. First. The new business would be named the Health Post with the intent of opening in May.

Shelby Dirks defeated Daren Arndt, 71-48, in the April 2 local election to win a seat on the city council. Byron McCarty was elected without opposition.

An 11th-hour decision by the USD 410 Board of Education not to renew the teaching contracts of Kristi Esquibel, instructor of agricultural education, and Martha Roach, instructor of art, raised discussion about the district’s tenure-evaluation process. The two teachers had been recommended for tenure by the district’s administrative team.

The former Hillsboro Christian Fellowship officially became part of the Orthodox Christian Church during services held April 26-27 on Wichita. The congregation was renamed in November 2001 as the Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Christian Church.


Jack D. Braun announced his intention to resign as vice president for advancement at Tabor College, effective June 30. Braun, who served on the Tabor faculty in various roles for 36 years, had accepted a position with Mennonite Brethren Foundation in Hillsboro.

Some 91 HHS musicians returned from the Cavalcade of Music national contest in Colorado Springs with a first-place trophy for the Chamber Choir and a second-place trophy for the Mixed Chorus. The Concert Choir and Spirit-N-Celebration both received “I” ratings.

Remington (“Remmy” for short), a 20-month-old golden retriever, joined the counseling staff as Hillsboro Middle School as a therapy dog. He was trained at the Canine-Assistance Rehabilitation and Education Services in Concordia. Tonja Wienck, HMS counselor, is his caretaker.

The HHS forensics team placed seventh in state competition May 4 in Wichita.

Fifty-nine seniors were graduated from Hillsboro High School May 19. Jenna Jost, Shannon Kroeker and Jonathan Regier were co-valedictorians and Julie Wall was salutatorian.

Notices sent to all Hillsboro residents reporting that the city had violated the state’s chlorine residual limits reflected problems with the city’s testing procedures more than with the city’s water supply, according to City Administrator Steven Garrett.

The Tabor College nursing program, launched in February 2001 with 12 students, received notification that it was granted full five-year accreditation by the Commis- sion on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Planners of the Hillsboro Family Festival reported a healthy crowd at the annual event May 25. The event was formally called the Hillsboro Folk Festival, but the name was changed to reflect a desire to broaden its appeal.

Lynn Jost was named the 2001-02 recipient of the Clarence R. Hiebert Excellence in Teaching Award at Tabor College. The award is given annually to a member of the faculty who best exemplifies the qualities of excellent teaching.

Tabor College graduated a total of 134 students May 25. The graduates included students in the Hillsboro-based undergraduate pro- gram, the Tabor College Wichita program, and the first graduates of the master’s program in education.


Both vacancies created by the nonrenewal of two teaching contracts were filled. Tim Kilgore was hired for the opening in vocational agriculture and Dustin Dalke will teach art.

An auction sale June 2 marked the closure of B&B Handyman, which first opened its doors in 1974. The sale began at 12:45 p.m. and lasted to 7 p.m.

Youth of the community presented the musical “OperaTunists” June 15. The production was the end result of the city’s annual summer drama program sponsored by the Hillsboro Recreation Commission.

The city council approved a bid for major improvements on the south end of Washington Street. The project would entail replacing old curb and guttering, and adding concrete driveway approaches.

Jeanne Penner is the owner-operator of The Cut Above, which opened at 111 E. Grand. The salon was formerly known as Impressions Hair Design.

Rain that would otherwise be a welcome relief from drought delayed the annual wheat harvest at mid-month. Farmers expressed concern that the grain would ripen before the ground would be dry enough for combines.

Once the harvest started, yields generated mixed reviews but the price of wheat climbed past $3 a bushel for the first time in years.

Greenhaw Pharmacy celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was started in Canton by Don Greenhaw, who moved the business to Hillsboro in 1969. Lou Greenhaw took over in 1993.

Kimberlee Jost launched a message-therapy business in late June. She is operating the business out of a former apartment unit at Hillsboro Community Medical Center.


The city council decided to test local interest in developing a “linear park” along the abandoned railroad corridor through Hillsboro after an ad hoc group of supporters presented the idea at the July 2 meeting. Oversight of the project was later transferred to the Hillsboro Planning Commission.

Developing a more effective relationship with city boards headed a list of five strategies identified as priorities by the city council following their planning meeting in May for 2002-03.

KaLyn Nethercot of Douglass was named director of the Tabor College Wichita Center for Adults Studies.

Five Hillsboroans worked as volunteers at the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson. They were Jane Long, Melissa Bartel, Raye Dirks, Max Terman and Darlene Bartel.

Despite declines in some revenue sources, the city council approved a budget for 2003 that would require only a slight increase in the local mill levy.

The city council tentatively agreed to purchase the former AMPI property from Dairy Farmers of America for an undisclosed price. The property includes 30 acres of annexed land and buildings totaling about 100,000 square feet.


The newly formed Hillsboro Community Band made its first appearance at the Marion County Fair. The age of the performers ranged from 12 to 70-plus. Gregg Walker, HHS band instructor, is directing the group.

Four teachers will be joining the USD 410 faculty for the 2002-03 year. In addition to Kilgore and Dalke, Jill Brown was hired to teach seventh-grade special education and Sharon Jost to teach third grade.

Representatives from the Hillsboro Development Corp., Hillsboro Museum Board, and the Hillsboro Convention and Visitors Bureau appeared before the city council to express concerns with the how cuts in the city’s 2003 budget would affect their programs.

Lorrie Campbell, a doctor of osteopathy, joined the staff of Preferred Medical Associates Hillsboro Family Practice Clinic.

Katy and Kerry Magathan of Hillsboro, new owners of the Hillsboro Daylight Donuts shop, reopened the business Aug. 20.

An ad hoc group of 12 community leaders appointed by Mayor Delores Dalke issued a report following almost a year-long process of discussing Hillsboro’s future. The committee asked the council to initiate action on its recommendations by Oct. 1.

USD 410 reported it would lose about $29,000 for the 2002-03 school year because of additional state budget cuts, but the district had prepared for that possibility and would not feel significant effects from the loss of funds, according to Superintendent Gordon Mohn.

Joyce Medley completed 22 years as treasurer of USD 410 at the end of the month. She was hired as a secretary at Durham High School in 1969, then was appointed treasurer in 1980 by Superintendent Robert C. Brown.

Jim Elliott began working as the new vice president of advancement at Tabor College. He is the first person to serve in that role who does not have a previous connection with the college or with the Mennonite Brethren Church, which owns the college.


David Wiebe announced his intention to retire as director of the Adobe House Museum after 181/2 years in that position.

The city council voted to accept a $14,700 teeth-sealant grant from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund in Hutchinson. The grant would be used to benefit school-age children.

The community marked the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington with a remembrance service at city hall. Hillsboro Elementary School invited local emergency-response personnel to gather with students for a “Lunch with Heroes.”

Local physician Michael Reeh relocated his office in the former dentistry building on North Washington street.

U.S. News & World Report picked Tabor College for the second tier of the best Midwestern comprehensive colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in its “America’s Best Colleges 2003” issue. This was the second year Tabor had been so listed.

Ideal weather prompted a record turnout for the annual Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair Sept. 21. Police estimated the crowd at more than 50,000.

Sharon and Don Chamberlain of Hillsboro were big winners when their losing Kansas Lottery ticket was pulled from 75,360 entries in a drawing at the Kansas State Fair. The Chamberlains won a 2002 Ford Thunderbird.

Alisa Jost, a senior at Hillsboro High School, was named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. She is one of 16,000 seniors nationwide-and the first at HHS in nine years-to receive the honor, which is based on the results of Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.

Dustin Jost was named king and Jessica Boese was named queen as part of HHS homecoming activities Sept. 28.


John Huninghake, who owns furniture stores in Marysville and Concordia, announced plans to open a store in the former Friesen Furniture Center building. The new business, slated to open in early November, would be called “Hillsboro Furniture” and would be managed by Brenda Coryea of Hillsboro.

The Hillsboro Planning Commission distributed a five-page community-wide survey designed to “test the temperature” of residents about services and amenities available in Hillsboro.

Mary Lancaster moved her business, Mary’s Mats and More, to 107 E. Grand.

Marlene Fast launched a new real-estate business called Fast Reality at 121 S. Main. She was formerly associated with ReMax Associates.

The city council officially approved a contract to buy the former AMPI property for $75,000.

Stan and Jolene Thiessen told the city council of plans to develop their residential property into an enterprise they are calling “Hearth Court Inn, Bed & Breakfast.” The development would be large enough to accommodate 200 patrons.

Carol Wiebe resigned her positions with the Hillsboro Management Board and the Hillsboro Development Corp. She had been employed as executive director of HDC since 1981 and took on her administrative role with HMB in December 1993.

Martin Rhodes was hired as the city’s new building inspector and code-enforcement officer, succeeding Kermit Dirksen, who had resigned for health reasons.

Mary Regier, assistant professor of business education at Tabor College, received the 2002 “Outstanding Post-Secondary Educator Award” from the Kansas Business Educators Association.


Tabor College sponsored a series of three weekly discussion forums on the topic, “Christian Responses to War.”

The Hillsboro Police Department was given permission to move its headquarters into the offices at the former AMPI property.

Hillsboro residents indicated they would like to see better sidewalks in town and improved recreation options, but otherwise seemed pleased with the state of the city, according to the preliminary results of the community-wide survey conducted in October.

The USD 410 Board of Education moved forward with plans to renovate the entrance to Robert C. Brown Gymnasium at a projected cost of $115,370. The change was mandated by the Kansas state fire marshall’s office, which said the current entrance was not big enough to accommodate the gym’s seating capacity in case of an emergency.

With some financial help from the county’s new microloan program, Terri Allen announced she would be opening a new business called Lagniappe (A Little Extra) in the former Sunflower Office Products building on Main Street.

Ray Holler announced he would be opening a one-hour film-developing business at 1271/2 N. Main called Photo Express.

Three Tabor professors celebrated the summer publication of books they had written. Doug Miller, Lynn Jost and Richard Kyle were recognized for the achievement Nov. 15.

The city council decided it was worth up to $18,000 for the city have a detailed map of its water-line system. The city had been relying on the memory of its workers to know the location of lines and valves.

Shawn Winter announced his intention to resign as director of Main Street Ministries Nov. 29. He had been on staff for five years, the last two as director.


About 200 people attended the annual Schaeffler House Christmas Open House Dec. 1.

The city council was told that Gov. Bill Graves’ plan to reduce funding to cities in an effort to address the state’s budget crisis could cost the city of Hillsboro up to $135,000 in 2003.

Megan Kilgore was named executive director of the Hillsboro Management Board. Kilgore, formerly with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, began her new duties Dec. 9.

Ten Hillsboro High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society Dec. 2. They were Jessica Boese, Aislinn Conrad, Katie Fast, Jared Fish, Danielle Goossen, Allison Kunkel, Aaron Miller, Graham Ratzlaff and Lisa Suderman.

The USD 410 Board of Education took cautious steps Dec. 9 toward the purchase of a computerized temperature-control system for the Hillsboro Elementary School. The system could cost as much as $140,000, but it was projected that fuel savings would pay for the system over time.

During November and early December, 34 local business participated in a campaign to test employees for pre-diabetes. The tests were done by Greenhaw Pharmacy and Wellness Center.

The city council voted Dec. 11 to join a growing number of cities across the state as plaintiffs in a lawsuit that would challenge Gov. Graves’ decision to cut their state funding. The suit is being filed by the League of Kansas Municipalities, which claims the governor exceeded his authority in making the cuts.

Hillsboro Community Medical Center announced it would be opening a special care unit to treat people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. The 11-bed unit is scheduled to open Jan. 1.

More from article archives
HORIZONS: Easter a time to celebrate the chance for new beginnings
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JORDAN KRAUSE I love irony. According to the film “Reality...
Read More