Good yields, high prices only half the farm story

The year 2008 may be remembered for good wheat and fall harvests with high grain prices to boot. But record fuel prices tempered the prospects for prosperity for area farmers and the many businesses that depend on them.

Some of the biggest news came in the field of health-care. An outside company bought the hospital in Hillsboro with the promise to build a new state-of-the-art facility. The surprise closure of Golden Living Center in Marion created concern while a new ratings system at year?s end sounded a positive note for quality of long-term-care facilities throughout the county. A new chiropractic center opened in Hillsboro and a familiar one changed hands.

On the industrial scene, the start of a training center for welders in Hillsboro appeared to be a promising development for area manufacturing companies.

January

Albert Reimer decided not to purchase a lot in the newly created Hillsboro Business Park, citing a change of plans. Reimer had proposed a new facility there for his Reimer Classics business, which is located downtown.

Tracy Brunner, fourth-generation partner in Cow Camp Beef at Ramona, began his first term as president of the Kansas Livestock Association.

February

After owning Sorb Compu?ters in Hillsboro for three years, Marc Penner sold the business to Brad Schweitzer of Hesston, effective Feb. 1. Penner will be devoting his time to Waddell and Reed Financial Services.

The winners of this year?s Marion County Conservation District awards were: Dean and Amy Suderman, Banker Award; Joel Suderman, Banker Award for water quality; Randy Windsor and Jim Cox, Grass Buffer Award; Lee and Arlene Remple, Continuation Award; Scott and Sherry David, Grass?land Award; and Shane and Jenny Svitak, Young Conserva?tion Farmer Award.

Three John Deere implement dealerships?Deer Trail Imple?ment Inc., Conrady Western and Pankratz Implement?merged to form PrairieLand Partners. The new entity will have stores in seven Kansas communities, including Marion, with a corporate support center in Hutchin?son.

David Kohl, agricultural economist from Virginia Tech, advised about 110 farm producers and businessmen Feb. 26 to keep their cash reserves up in the coming economic world. The gathering, titled ?Megatrends of Ag in an Age of Turbulence,? was sponsored by Emprise Bank.

April

The first incubation partnership between Hillsboro Ventures Inc. and a fledgling local-owned business is formally under way. Hillsboro Manufacturing Inc., a precision metal machining company, began production in November 2006. It now occupies a 2,475-square-foot building purchased by HVI at 301 N. Cedar. The owners of the business are Nathan Daniels, 22, and Ben Dalke, 28.

Hillsboro Community Medical Center completed a major equipment upgrade with the installation of a new 16-slice computed axial tomography?CT or CAT?scanner. The cost of the equipment upgrade is about $510,000 and places HCMC on the cutting edge of rural hospitals, according to Mike Ryan, chief executive officer.

Parkside Homes Inc., Hills?boro, was one of 10 nursing homes in Kansas to receive a PEAK (Promote Excellent Alternatives in Kansas) Award at the Gover?nor?s Conference on Aging Services in Topeka.

June

A pack of six wild dogs attacked cattle owned by Bradley Backhus of Tampa, killing six heifers and wounding one, according to the Marion County Sheriff?s Office.

Several area food-related businesses faced a time without tomatoes as their suppliers awaited FDA certification after an outbreak of salmonella across the nation.

Three Marion County businesses received a 2008 Kansas Department of Commerce Business Appreciation Award. Circle D Corp., Hillsboro, was feted in the manufacturing division, while Elcon Services Inc., Hillsboro, and Western Associ?ates Inc., Marion, were recognized in the service division.

As the result of a couple of hail incidents over the past month and a half, a reroofing boom occurred in Hillsboro. Between May 12 through June 19, 51 building permits had been issued by the city with an estimated value surpassing $720,000.

July

Officials at area grain elevators were reporting a good wheat harvest across Marion County. The price for wheat peaked during harvest at $8.65 per bushel at Cooperative Grain & Supply.

Todd Eland, marketing director for Sunset Equities of McPherson, the franchisee for a Wendy?s restaurant slated for Hillsboro, said progress on remodeling the former McDonald?s building should pick up after Aug. 1.

Pam and Vincent Magallenes opened a new business in Marion called Family Sports.

Country Lakes Cafe was reopened in Marion by former owners Larry and Barbara Smith.

Kathy Greenlee, secretary of the Kansas Department on Aging, presented Parkside Homes with its PEAK Award July 15.

General Motors verbally approved the sale of Irv Schroeder County Motors in Hillsboro to Midway Motors based in McPherson. Danny Flynn will be the manager of Midway?s Hillsboro dealership.

August

Kids Connection, a state-licensed preschool and daycare initiated by Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, opened its doors to around 35 children. Tracy Hefley is the director.

Good Health Chiropractic & Diagnostic Center opened its doors in Hillsboro. Bill and Olivia Good are the owners.

Paul Penner, Hillsboro farmer, was elected president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers at the organization;s annual meeting in Hutch?inson.

Marion County farmers received a proverbial ?million-dollar rain? in August, prompting local observers to predict a bountiful fall harvest for area farmers.

Hillsboro?s Norman Galle is one of only three veterinarians in the state to offer laser surgery for animals as part of his practice at Hillsboro Animal Clinic.

The former Hillsboro Com?munity Medical Center and the HCMC Long Term Care Unit officially became separate entities Aug. 31. They are now named Hillsboro Community Hospital and Salem Home, respectively. Mike Ryan will continue to lead the hospital while Kelly Schlehuber was hired as administrator at Salem.

October

Gretchen Wagner began working Oct. 1 as administrator of the long-term-care facility at Parkside Homes Inc.

Midway Motors celebrated its grand opening in Hillsboro Oct. 11.

Its Arkansas-based corporate owner announced that Golden Living Center, a 72-bed long-term-care, skilled-nursing facility in Marion will be closed Nov. 15.

After serving clients for 35 years in Hillsboro, Dennis Scharenberg sold his practice and chiropractic office to Kodi and Jarrod Panzer of Halstead, effective Oct. 24. The Panzers also own a chiropractic center in Halstead.

Cooperative Grain & Supply filled its new storage bunker with about 500,000 bushels of corn as a way to make room for other fall-harvest crops.

November

The long-awaited Wendy?s restaurant opened in Hillsboro Nov. 14 with a ?test run? for guests from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The timeline for starting construction on the new $10 million hospital in Hillsboro has been delayed until early 2009 because the national economic down-turn has eased the rise in construction costs that the parent company faced this summer, according to Mike Ryan, CEO.

Six nursing homes in Marion County received four or five stars in the new five-star rating system unveiled Dec. 18 by the Centers for Medicare and Medi?caid Services. The new system was received with mixed reactions, but was affirmed locally as one tool to consider when choosing a long-term-care placement.

Emprise Bank, Hillsboro, made the first of 10 annual $5,000 contributions to Tabor College as its pledge toward the proposed Joel Wiens Stadium that will be built in partnership with USD 410.

December

Owners Linden and Dorrie Thiessen announced that Olde Towne Restaurant in Hillsboro, known regionally for its Low-German buffet, would be closing its doors Christmas Day.

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