Good harvests a boost for Marion County Economy

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Marion County businesses endured the effects of a challenging national economy during 2009, while farmers enjoyed above-average wheat and fall-crop harvests. The net effect was increased sales-tax revenue, at least for county coffers and the city of Hillsboro.

January

More than 175 people attended the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Jan. 12. The Hillsboro Free Press was named Chamber Member of the Year, while Olivia Kliewer, a Hillsboro High School vocalist, won the talent contest.

The Marion City Council approved an agreement inviting Spur Ridge Vet Hospital to build its new facility in Batt Industrial Park. The animal clinic is currently in Florence.

Doug Weinbrenner, Hillsboro, was named chief executive officer of Golden Heritage Foods, LCC. He succeeds Dwight Stoller, who resigned for health reasons.

February

Reign Anduss, 72, is preparing for the grand opening of Mom and Dad?s Cafe, which opened the week of Feb. 8 in Marion.

Winners of this year?s county soil conservation awards were Randy and Kathy Svitak (Banker), Mike and Carolyn Kleiber (Banker), Lester and Lois Voth (Continuation), Eric and Bethany Carlson (Young Farmer), Garry Hamm (Grassland) and Robert Barb (Grass Buffer).

The Lumberyard, Hillsboro, celebrated its 125th birthday with the opening of a new store to the north of its longstanding location.

Business guru Tim Smith was the featured speaker at the first Buyer?s Edge Biz Expo on Feb. 12 in North Newton.

Southwest Spas International announced it would be moving its manufacturing operation from Oceanside, Calif., to Hills?boro. The company has had a distributorship in Hillsboro for the past four years.

Glenn Thiessen, managing broker at Fast Realty in Hills?boro, received the Presi?dent?s Award from the Wichita Area Association of Realtors for handling 42 transactions, either the purchase or sale of a house.

March

Construction of the new Hillsboro Community Hospital has been delayed because lenders have all but stopped approving commercial loans following the nation?s real-estate fed economic crisis.

More than 150 students and job seekers attended the second annual Business Career and Job Fair March 11 at the county fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

About 75 people attended a come-and-go retirement party for Norman C. Bouwie II as Hills?boro postmaster. Bouwie worked 32 years for the postal service, 17 at Hills?boro.

April

County commissioners approved a conditional-use permit for a beef feedlot of about 3,000 animals northeast of Lincolnville near 290th and Bluestem. The feedlot will be operated by Mike Beneke.

May

The automobile marketing environment in Hillsboro won?t change noticeably in the near future even though Wright?s Inc., one of the ?Big Three? dealerships in town, received word that it was one of 16 stores in Kansas to be dropped by its bankrupt parent company, Chrysler. Nearly 800 dealerships were dropped nationwide. Midway Motors, meanwhile, survived a similar move by General Motors, which dropped about 1,100 dealerships.

St. Luke Hospital in Marion launched a cardiac rehabilitation program May 1 with Lori Garrett serving as its director.

June

A ribbon-cutting ceremony June 1 marked the opening of ?The Salad Bowl,? an eating establishment in Hillsboro developed by Brenda and David McGinness as part of their Brenda?s Boomers store.

Countryside Feed LLC, based in Hillsboro, was a finalist for the Governor?s Award of Excellence through the Kansas Department of Commerce. Among the 151 regional merit award winners were Tabor College and The Lumberyard.

Ag-Power Inc., the AGCO?farm implement dealership in Hillsboro, was sold to Lang Diesel Inc., based in Hays, effective July 1.

July

Grain-elevator managers throughout Marion County agreed the 2009 wheat harvest produced above-average yields, with ?a lot of 50-bushel wheat.?

Jerold Vogt, co-owner of Vogts HomeTown Market and a participant in the Vogt family grocery business in Hillsboro for more than a half-century, died July 5 at age 63.

Carl Long retired as president of Hillsboro State Bank July 31 after more than 20 years of service there. He was succeeded by Cynthia Fleming.

Terry Vinduska, Marion, was elected vice chairman of the U.S. Grains Council. He represents the Kansas Corn Commission on the council.

August

Hillsboro car dealerships had contrasting reactions to the federal government?s ?Cash for Clunkers? program, which offered financial incentives to trade in older vehicles for new, more energy-efficient ones.

September

Elcon Service in Hillsboro began sub-contract work to wire nitrogen regeneration units manufactured by American Energies Corp. based in Wichita.

October

Bethesda Home in Goessel dedicated its $2.75 million renovated facility Oct. 11. It includes a public coffee bar for the community.

Spur Ridge Vet Hospital is now operating at its new location in the Marion Industrial Park. Brendan Kraus is the veterinarian and owner.

November

Becky Larson, who had been serving as officer-in-charge at the Hillsboro post office for several months following the retirement of Norman Bouwie II, was appointed his permanent successor.

December

Employees of St. Luke Hospital in Marion raised more than $108,000 among themselves during November to help fund a $6 million hospital expansion project slated for 2010.

Starting the first of the year, entrepreneurs looking to start or expand a business in Hillsboro will have a source of low-interest funds to consider through a revolving loan fund of $150,000. The fund was established through NetWork Kansas in partnership with Hillsboro Development Corp. and Hills?boro Ventures Inc.

Scully Partners purchased a lot in Hillsboro Heights to enable owner Doug Sharp to build a new office location for his Midland Farm Service business. The Scully lease operation has been based in Marion for some 130 years.

Larry Arthur, president and chief executive officer of HMC/CAH Consolidated Inc., owners of Hillsboro Community Hospital, said he is hopeful that construction could begin this spring on the new $10 million hospital along U.S. Highway 56. He said a Kansas bank is considering making the required loan.

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