Second year of drought hits fall crops hard across county



Impacted by drought conditions for much of the year, Marion County businesses experienced ups and downs in 2012, with new businesses opening and some businesses closing.


Marion native Mark Engler, now a Philadelphia resident, is mass-marketing a guitar accessory called ?The Engle.? It resembles a miniature pickaxe and enables the musician to strike all six (or 12) strings simultaneously, creating a unique musical effect.

MB Foundation, based in Hillsboro, has become one of the largest and most-respected community foundations in the state with $120 million in assets in 2011.

Roger Schroeder is the new marketing and foundation director at St. Luke Hospital and Living Center, filling the void created by the departure of Mike Norris in September.

David C. Josh, 55, a Hillsboro businessman formerly of Ocono?mowoc, Wis., was arrested on five outstanding warrants from Wisconsin. He is co-owner of the Classics@Olde Towne restaurant.

Jost Fabrication moved to Hillsboro Heights after more than a quarter century as a farm-based enterprise. Owners Kevin and Angy Jost said the transition went smoothly. The business sells and installs custom truck beds and is an authorized dealer for trailers produced by Hillsboro?s two local manufacturers, Hillsboro Industries and Circle D.

The opening of the new hair salon, Tangles, is a dream come true for owner Alison Schultz, who along with friend and colleague Jess Platz, look forward to offering customers a relaxing spa-type experience.


Ron Wilson of the Huck Boyd Institute of Rural Development at Kansas State University was the speaker at the first joint Marion-Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce banquet. Wilson commended the two Chambers for coming together for the event in Hillsboro, which drew about 250 people.

Atanacio Nieto, owner of the La Cabana restaurant in Hills?boro, commissioned Rogelio Andrada, a painter from Seattle, Wash., to give his restaurant a new look. The result was eight large murals on the walls above the booths and one smaller mural in the entryway.

For nearly two decades, Marion Regier was a key player at Hillsboro Community Hos?pital as chief financial officer. After a short time away from HCH, Regier returned as the person in charge. Her first day as chief executive officer was Feb. 13.


The Free Press published a three-part series called ?They Toil for Oil,? which examined the effort to begin oil exploration in Marion County through the use of hydraulic drilling.

Golden Heritage Foods has been playing a lead role in elevating integrity in the inter?national honey market through an organization called True Source Honey and a companion labeling initiative called True Source Certified.

Former longtime Hillsboro house contractor Larry Bartel, working alongside his son, Kevin, is doing the interior work for two huge trailers that will provide lodging for up to 20 harvest-crew workers this summer. The project was initiated by Kent Wright, owner of Wright?s Trucking & Harvesting LLC based in Sidney, Neb.

Marion County is joining the rest of the country in the real estate boom that has led to rising prices for productive agricultural land. Lyle Leppke, a Hillsboro-based real estate broker, said, ?Two years ago you didn?t see land prices over $2,000 an acre here. Now we?re seeing $3,000 an acre and higher.?


Farmers may be harvesting Marion County wheat by Memorial Day this year, according to local experts.Wheat normally is harvested around the Fourth of July.


Cooperative Grain & Supply in Hillsboro was a beehive of activity during the last week of May as the early wheat harvest got into full swing. Dick Tippin, grain coordinator, said precipitation early in the week affected grain quality. Tippin said farmers were reporting yields of 45 to 70 bushels per acre.


Blue-green algae toxins are suspected to have caused the death of 22 cattle in a pasture near Marion County. The 22 animals, weighing an average of around 700 pounds, represented about 30 percent of a herd that had arrived from out of state about 48 hours prior to the discovery of the incident.

Merchants in Marion sponsored an Art & Music Stroll along Main Street. Photograph?ers, artists, musicians, restaurants and other vendors in and around Marion County offered visitors a chance to enjoy the arts and culture with their family and support community spirit.

Author Melody Peugh, 59, of rural Peabody used the avenue of electronic publishing to produce her debut novel, ?Michaela?s Gift.? The book, targeted to readers age 10 and older, focuses on 12-year-old Michaela and her artistic gift.

Since the first of this year, Mary Britain, owner of Auntie M?s Diner in Florence, and her staff have been encouraging patrons to buy small, stylized rubber ducks for $3, with the proceeds going to charities. The team has raised more than $2,000 for causes ranging from St. Jude Children?s Hospital to Florence?s public library and community garden.

Plans for a new 8,000 square-foot discount store in Marion, which was expected to get under way in July or August, are now on hold. Josh Braverman, a Family Dollar spokesman, said the corporation is re-evaluating its proposal for this area.

It took longer than planned, but Norel Farms Bakery opened its doors at 209 N. Main in Hills?boro. For co-owner and manager Rachel Schmidt, the accomplishment fulfills a longtime professional ambition and completes a full circle to her childhood experience.

Josh Boehm joined the Brookens Law Office in Marion and Hillsboro. A spring graduate of Wash?burn Law School, the Wiscon?sin native has felt at home in Marion County since starting June 6.


Local initiative combined with cooperation between two area educational institutions may mean new life for the welding center based in Hillsboro. Butler Community College announced it has transferred responsibility for managing and enrolling welding classes in Hillsboro to Hutchin?son Community College.

K. Anne Phyfer joined St. Luke Hospital and Living Center as a family physician and began seeing patients of all ages July 9.

Three local businesses were recognized by Hillsboro Cham?ber of Commerce for their contributions locally and statewide. Representatives from Vogt?s HomeTown Market, Golden Heritage Foods and Wendy?s were nominated for the award by Hillsboro Development Corp.

Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said two rains received around Memorial Day probably staved off more dismal corn and soybean crop yield outlooks. The rains may enable farmers to take advantage of average crop prices that the U.S. Department of Agricul?ture reported have increased 41 percent for corn and 26 percent for soybeans as of last week.

Marion County and 81 other counties in Kansas were declared as federal disaster areas Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making agricultural producers eligible for disaster assistance programs.


After saying last month, ?I thought we were better off than a year ago,? Extension agent Rickey Roberts said a another month with 100-degree plus temperatures and no rain has put producers ?in the middle of a train wreck,? referring to the shriveling corn crop and the soybeans.

Elfrieda Funk, Hillsboro, received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from Lead?ingAge Kansas. The award is presented to a member institution?s chief executive officer, administrator, employee, trustee or board member.

A team of 4-H members from Marion County qualified to compete at a national livestock judging contest by placing fourth at the Kansas Livestock Sweep?stakes in Manhattan. The 4-Hers were Lauren Geis, Nicholas Meyer, Karl Riffel, Bryce Roberts. Micayla Stika, Ethan Oborney and Lisa Geis.


After two years of planning, Trail Stop Inc., a 1,500 square-foot community-owned grocery store, opened in Tampa. Monica Svoboda, store manager, said Trail Stop will offer competitive prices and many of the same products as other grocery stores in the area.

The drought-stricken soybeans are prompting varying strategies on what to do with them in Marion County. The shortage has prompted prices in the $17 per bushel range, causing farmers to think in terms of harvesting their fields, even for small yields. Others are seeking guidance on whether to cut beans as hay to feed cattle.

Lauren Geis of Durham won Champion Senior Swine Show?man at the Kansas Junior Livestock Show near Wichita. Some 750 exhibitors from 91 counties participated.


The Kansas Main Street program will be discontinued, according to Secretary of Com?merce Pat George, but some concessions are being made for the 25 programs affected, including Peabody?s.


More than $7,000 was donated to local and worldwide charities during the second annual Alter?native Market Saturday at Marion Presbyterian Church.

The Hillsboro Free Press released its new book, ?Our Nation Called,? on Veterans Day in Pilsen. About 50 people came to the event to pick up the books they had pre-purchased and to hear affirmation of military veterans. A second distribution event followed that evening at the Marion VFW.

The Hillsboro Free Press launched MCXRadio on its website. It will provide Christmas music through the end of the calendar year.


The chief executive officers of the two critical access hospitals in Marion County see the possible 2 percent across-the-board sequestration cut in Medicare spending starting Jan. 1 as a financial hit, but not a knockout punch. According to the chief executive officers, St. Luke Hospital and Living Center in Marion would see a reduction in revenue of $56,000 for the year; Hillsboro Community Hos?pital would see reduction of about $67,000.

The Hillsboro Community Hospital Auxiliary raised $500 last month at its Bake & Book Sale with proceeds going toward the purchase of a portable ultra sound, said Velma Hadley, auxiliary volunteer co-chair.

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